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The Art of Fighting 


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The Art and Science of War 

Synonymous Terms (?) 

WHEN the writer entered the army in 1862 — 
during our great Civil War — at the age of 
sixteen, he heard much about the Art and 
Science of War, and the discussions thereon — pro and 
con. A brother had just graduated from West Point 
and had been in command of a company of regular 
infantry in the first battle of Bull Run and at Gen. 
George B. McClellan's headquarters — as he was then com- 
manding the Army of the Potomac — and, later, was at 
Burnside's, Hooker's and Meade's. 

The writer was just fresh from school, a raw, un- 
trained volunteer, and had not learned to differentiate 
those well-worn phrases. To his green, unitiated, and un- 
disciplined mind, at that youthful age, these two phrases 
— the "Art and Science of War," and the "Art of Fight- 
ing" — seemed to him to be synonymous terms. It was not 
until he had been through the maelstrom of campaign 
and battle under such commanding generals as McClel- 
lan, Burnside, Hooker and Meade at Antietam, Freder- 
icksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, etc., and emerg- 
ing from that experience to enter West Point in 1865, 
and, soon after, had taken up the study of the Art and 
Science of War, with all of the principles applying 
thereto, that he began to go back a little and doubt 
his first youthful diagnosis, definition or interpretation 
of this phrase which had been rung with so many vary- 
ing changes on those campaigns and in those bloody 
battles which were so potent in checking, in a degree, 
our ardent and most enthusiastic patriotism, and pre- 
conceived ideas of the glory and pleasure of war. Those 
two terms are not, nor will they ever be, synonymous. 

^\ i ' 

The Art and Science of War 

He turned backward for reflection. There was, per- 
haps, one incident during his course at the Military 
Academy which materially helped him to chew this cud. 

The Irate and Non-Militant Professor 

One day at recitation he had a subject in "Mahan's 
Advance Guard and Outposts." The author and pro- 
fessor was present. The writer jotted a few headings 
on the blackboard, perfectly confident of his subject 
and getting a maximum mark, as he had had to per- 
form this duty many times in the course of his battle 
service. He practically ignored the text — which proved 
to be fatal to his ambition. He had scarcely begun his 
recitation before the professor — who had graduated at 
the head of his class at West Point, and second in his 
class at the Ecole Polytechnique of France (he would 
have graduated at the head had he not been an Ameri- 
can) — but who, as an engineer, had never been in bat- 
tle or heard a hostile shot, or had even ever seen the 
principles of advance and rear guard, pickets, outpost 
and vidette pickets, flanking columns, etc., of his own 
textbook practically demonstrated in the camps or 
along the lines of a large fighting army. This profes- 
sor arose and angrily exclaimed, "No, sir! that is all 
wrong!" "But, professor, that is just as I have per- 
formed that duty practically as a soldier many times 
during my battle service in the Civil War." Still, angry, 
the professor shouted, "I don't care what you did or 
what you saw during the Civil War, you stick to the 
text !" When I ventured to mildly argue with this irate 
disciple and exponent of the Art and Science of War, 
saying that under certain conditions it was found neces- 
sary to depart sometimes from the cut and dried for- 
mulas and rules of well-known textbooks on the sub- 
ject, and improvise in a thoroughly practical manner 
certain changes, he shouted, "I want to hear nothing 

The Art and Science of War 

further from you. Sit down, sir!" And I received a 
mark of 1.5 or 1.7 on a 3.00 recitation. The writer 
began to open his eyes. The dawn had come. Light 
began to break in upon his hitherto benighted soul. 
He had just begun to study the "Art and Science of 
War." He had before been simply an humble boy vol- 
unteer fighter in the old Army of the Potomac. Why 
should he stand there and argue with the exponent of 
that art? Visions of his future profession began to 
loom up, and he quietly chewed the cud and ruminated. 
He is the same professor who was sent for by the War 
Department in 1861 to devise a system of defensive for- 
tifications for the Capital, and having suggested and 
drawn up elaborate plans for a permanent or semi-per- 
manent system of Vauban's line of circumvallation, and 
being told that what was needed was something that 
could be of immediate use, as they could not wait four 
or five years for the masonry, etc., he became incensed, 
left Washington in high dudgeon and his services were 
not again called for nor was he heard from again until 
by sheer ill-luck the writer clashed with him on a sub- 
ject so dear to his heart — the theoretical safeguarding 
of a great army in its camps and on an offensive cam- 
paign during the stress of a long and bloody war. He 
(the professor) was not, nor could he be converted 
into a practical fighter. 

When the writer was asked, after graduation from 
West Point, "What did you learn during your studies 
there of the Art and Science or the Theory of War and 
the application of its principles — and about real battle 
conditions as you saw them, or how those principles 
worked out on the fighting or battleline," he always 
related the two foregoing incidents and freely con- 
fessed that nowhere in any text book on tactics or 
grand strategy was there any hint, or anything tangible 
laid down which gave any real, definite information or 
knowledge respecting the method or "Art of Fighting," 

The Art and Science of War 

or sudden, unlooked for conditions arising (and they 
are likely to change every few minutes) after the plan 
of battle had, according to the well-known principles 
governing such a plan, or the tactical formations and 
maneuvers, been worked out. 

No Cut and Dried Plans or Fixed Rules in War 

He found that there was not, because there could not, 
be any cut and dried plan covering any particular 
method or art of fighting. It never has been and never 
can be written in any book, because all battle condi- 
tions are never a fixed but always a varying quantity, 
and consequently the exact science of mathematics, or 
of constant quantities cannot apply. He found that 
really his own personal or individual experience in 
actual battle under competent leaders who had learned 
the lesson and "played the game" in the same manner 
as he had — but not out of books — had been his only 
teacher or guide, and much of the so-called Art and 
Science of War, under real battle conditions, was and 
is still the merest "bunk." This does not apply to the 
marching, feeding, clothing, care, proper training and 
skillful leadership in the fighting of men — or, as the 
writer has chosen to call it, the "Art of Fighting." 

Many of the men in high commands whom the writer 
had looked upon as the greatest living examples or ex- 
ponents of this "Art and Science of War" and whom he 
had placed upon the loftiest pinnacles of fame, showed the 
most dense ignorance of the "Art of Fighting." He 
learned that after all of this knowledge gained from 
books, many of them written by men who, like the old 
professor he has quoted — had never seen a battlefield or 
had ever been under fire, but who, taking the well- 
accepted abstract formulas as their tests, had hatched, 
incubated, and published these books and demonstrated 
them to their students, as the only safe maxims and wise 

The Art and Science of War 

guides upon which the average soldier could pin his faith 
when the grim, black vulture of war had descended upon 
our unmilitary nation. But, after elaborating upon the 
evolution of tactics, the grand strategy and maneuvers 
of armies, the logistics, depots of supplies, hospitaliza- 
tion, sanitation, etc., one could find no word about the 
Art of Fighting an Army, and the writer was free to 
confess, after passing through the bloody sweat and hell 
of battle on those sanguinary fields, that he had never 
learned anything about the real battle fighting from these 
books, but had been compelled to retrograde or go back, 
not to the theory of war, but to the Art and Science of 

Art of Fighting a Constant Factor 

The art and science of war then, as studied from books, 
and the principles governing the same, may or may not 
be applied in a real wildcat battle, but the art of fighting, 
while it may or may not be an inherent or cultivated 
trait, depending, it is believed, upon one's environments, 
it must always be employed in any and every battle. It is 
absolutely certain that no amount of military education 
furnishes such an art. Then the query naturally arises, 
what does? 

It developed during that four long years of Civil War 
that many of those in high commands, as has already 
been stated — and who were considered as the most scien- 
tific and best-educated soldiers in the United States, well 
versed in the art and science of war, proved to be the 
poorest fighters. The one most glaring example of the 
truth of this assertion can be found in Gen. Henry W. 
Halleck, who, as a sort of directing commanding general 
or chief of staff, had tried to direct from Washington, 
remote from the real fighting zones — the operations of 
our widely separated armies in the field by the telegraph 
or long-drawn-out orders. No more dismal failure could 

8 The Art and Science of War 

be cited. No amount of book training or theoretical study 
of the "Art and Science of War" could ever teach Halleck 
the "Art of Fighting." He was no fighter except on paper 
and with his mouth. A "tar bucket night fight," referred 
to later on, would have given him a stroke of apoplexy. 
We had a lot of "book- worm" fighters just like him at 
that period. We have had them since; we have them 
with us now, and will in the future. 

Book- Worm Soldiers vs. "Tar-Bucket" Scrappers and 
the "Forest City" Manhandlers 

The writer, in his early boyhood, lived in a New Eng- 
land seaport city. Without going into the specific causes 
for such an apparently unnatural and very strange, 
almost anomalous condition which existed in this city 
during the early '50s of the last century, the city was 
divided into four distinct fighting zones or sections — 
the division not being on or along strictly racial lines — 
or on any other lines that has ever been explained. These 
sub-divisions or zones were called "Hogtown" (Yankees), 
"Gorham's Corner" (Irish), "Green Streeters" or 
"Covers," and "Washington Streeters" (negroes and 
mixed) . They comprised all of the boys of a fighting age 
living in the west, south, north, and east divisions, and 
along and including certain streets. On many nights in 
winter these boys would meet on the corners of these 
streets in their respective neighborhoods, and with little 
or no provocation start a fight with their fists and sawed- 
off broomsticks — sometimes with snowballs. But it was 
reserved for one night in the year, and that the night 
of February 22, "Washington's Birthday," for the vari- 
ous clans to gather. The "Hogtown" and other clans 
were generally marshaled or led by the American mates 
and husky Yankee sailors of ships in the harbor. At 
that period many square riggers, barques, barquentines, 
brigs, brigantines, hermaphrodite brigs, coastwise topsail 

The Art and Science of War 

schooners, and fishermen were lying in at the docks with 
idle crews. 

For many weeks prior to this date, the wharves and 
warehouses were scoured for wood (pitch pine), tarred 
rope, tar, rosin, whale oil, or anything that would make 
a big blaze and a hot fire. Sugar hogsheads and hard- 
wood barrels were obtained, and these mounted on large, 
stout sleds, and manned by the boys of those sections, 
strung out on long ropes, everybody armed with a big 
camphene or tar torch and a sawed-off broom handle, his 
pockets bulging with snowballs which had been well 
soaked and frozen the night before, made up the fighting 
gangs. This sled — now in full blaze as a challenge — was 
hauled out by this thoroughly patriotic (?) and zealous 
band of fighters over the hard, packed snow to do battle 
for their end of the burg and win a victory or spell defeat. 
It was a crusade, and every enemy head that showed up 
anywhere outside of the geographical limits was to be 
hit, and when a crowd was so far whipped or conquered 
as to ingloriously flee and abandon their burning "tar 
bucket," barrel or hogshead, the latter was most uncere- 
moniously caught up and dumped bodily upon the victors' 
barrel and on went the shouting crowd singing some 
familiar sailor "Chantey" song — for new fields and bar- 
rels to conquer. This was called "Tar-bucket night" and 
was the regular annual event of each winter season for 
many years. No such carnival was ever known to exist 
in any other city in the country. Some years ago some 
local paper of that city attempted to give the origin of 
such a celebration on that particular night. The writer 
does not now recall the reason then given — but it prob- 
ably had its inception among the sailors of that period. 
Neither the Mayor nor Police Department of the city 
ever interfered in any way with the rights and guaran- 
teed liberties and "pursuit of happiness" of these bands 
of fighters. It was their night. Now the risk is so great 
of fire that a few years ago this old-time custom had de- 

10 The Art and Science of War 

generated into a small bonfire being permitted in one of 
the public squares — but with no fighting. The "Art of 
Fighting" has waned and died out there as a "pussy- 
footed pacifism" has crept in and increased. 

A similar custom existed in Boston about this same 
period — numerous encounters taking place across old 
Craigie's Bridge, connecting Boston and Charlestown, be- 
tween the Irish of the "North End," "Copp's Hill" and 
about "Dock Square" and the boys of "Bunker Hill" and 
"Sullivan Square" and "Navy Yard." Rocks and clubs 
were freely used, but no such event as "Tar Bucket Night" 
ever took place in these two historic towns. It remained 
as previously stated, for the Forest City of the "Dirigo" 
("I Lead") State to initiate and maintain the curious 
custom here given which was to train so many American 
fighters for the Civil War period. 

There were some broken or sore heads, many black 
eyes and swollen noses. Little or no strategy and no 
tactics were employed. It was simply a rough neck fight, 
every mother's son doing his level best — and a fight to 
the finish. It was what the writer chooses to term "The 
Art of Fighting," with no study of any books bearing 
upon the Art and Science of War or anything else. There 
was little or no tactical formation as is known today in 
the study of military science, regarded so necessary by 
some in maneuvers on a battlefield. The larger boys — 
ranging from 17 to about 10 (boys large enough to carry 
a torch and handle a sawed-off broomstick), led by the 
18 to 21 year old magnificent American mates — "man- 
handlers" who had had the sea training and discipline 
aboard great square-rigged clipper ships and had made 
their two or three year cruises to Japan, China, India 
and the Philippines, or "Around the Horn," who were 
fighting for the honor and reputation of the sections in 
which they had been born and reared. In other words, 
what the boys of that period most needed was the fighting 
spirit and "guts," and true, tried leaders, and no theo- 

The Art and Science of War 11 

retical book bunk. Such a fighting spirit and morale can- 
not be gleaned from books of tactics or grand strategy. 

There were certain whistle or halloo signals, made by 
the mates or boatswains — calls for identification of the 
local fighters, and used for concentration or dispersion, 
and for the small boy reserves — who were not allowed 
in the front rank formations — to bring up extra ammu- 
nition in the shape of frozen snowballs. On one occasion 
the best leader we had — a young Yankee mate ("Dave" 
Keazer), just in from a long cruise to China, was struck 
in the back of the head by a large iron bolt thrown by the 
"Green Street" enemy, who had sneaked around the cor- 
ner, coming up in the rear, just as our "Hogtown" boys 
were hauling off a particularly fine, new blazing "tar- 
bucket" which had been captured after a most desperate 
fight. With a sled as an ambulance our hero was hauled 
home for repairs. He was out in a few days, none the 
worse for his injury. The most sanguinary engagements 
were generally in the "Gorham's Corner," or Irish zone, 
for here, in addition to the young Irish sailors of that 
section, sometimes pretty well "lit up" with "booze" — for 
that was the rum section of the city — they were generally 
helped out by the mothers, wives, and sweethearts of 
these fighting sons of Erin, and they fought with the zeal 
and fury of wildcats, their ammunition consisting of 
frozen snowballs, horseshoes and chamber missiles 
thrown from the windows upon our unprotected heads. 
Helmets had not then been thought of. 

The balance of the winter, when not skating and coast- 
ing on Saturday afternoons or when not attending school, 
each section of the city was still further subdivided — gen- 
erally according to localities or streets — into war-like 
bands, which, building snow forts in vacant lots at or 
near the corners of wide streets, and choosing leaders, 
endeavored to capture by every artifice and stratagem, 
and frontal and rear or flank attacks or storming columns 
these miniature works. These fights were snow battles 

12 The Art and Science of War 

only and lacked the sawed-off broomsticks and sailor 
leadership, and consequently not any danger of serious 
injury, although hundreds of boys were engaged in these 
strictly daylight actions and close hand-to-hand combats. 
We were, although unconsciously, learning the "Art of 
Fighting" then, all of which was fitting us for what was 
to come less than five years later on the bloody battlefields 
of the Civil War, for probably seventy-five per cent of 
those boys who had engaged in those "Tar Bucket Night" 
and snowball battles through the streets of that dear old 
city went in the Maine regiments (mostly in the Seven- 
teenth Maine) which made up our fighting volunteer 
armies in the field. They made the finest soldiers of 
Hooker's and Kearney's divisions or that the world has 
ever seen — which was demonstrated after being tried 
out for four long years in the crucible of one of the great- 
est and most sanguinary struggles ever recorded on the 
pages of the history of the world. 

Among these gallant souls were four sons of William 
Pitt Fessenden, for many years, and when he died, a sena- 
tor from Maine, and Secretary of the Treasury in the 
cabinet of Abraham Lincoln. One of these sons was 
killed at the battle of Second Bull Run while serving on 
the staff of Gen. Tower. Another lost his leg at the battle 
of Shiloh and died a brigadier-general on the retired list 
of the United States Army. While the other two ren- 
dered most brilliant and distinguished service. None 
were graduates of West Point. Many of these boys never 
came back; some are buried in nameless graves. Who 
can gainsay the fact, however, that those battles in the 
streets of that quiet seaport city — the city of Longfellow 
on Casco Bay — not only inculcated the true soldierly spirit 
— the fighting spirit — and fully impressed upon each and 
all the true "Art of Fighting," lacking only the necessary 
instruction after reaching the field, and the experience of 
the camp, the march, the picket outpost, and direct con- 
tact with a real armed enemy, but actually made the 

The Art and Science of War 13 

superb, self-reliant soldiers which they later became. The 
Maine lumbermen — all perfectly skilled axemen — could 
put themselves under cover on the outpost or in camp 
quicker than any men the writer ever saw in the Army — 
and the President (Abraham Lincoln) was heard to say 
when riding through our cantonments or winter camps 
in April, 1863 — and passing by the log huts of the Second 
Maine — uniformly built with streets the same width — 
cracker box doors and leather hinges, pork barrel chim- 
neys; and all mathematically laid out with almost an 
engineer's skill — with the Company letters worked out 
in evergreens in arches over those streets, "That is the 
finest camp I have ever seen in the Army of the Potomac ; 
they must be loggers!" They were, having come from 
the Penobscot River region of Maine. They also knew 
the use of the rifle. None of this was learned from books. 

The Non-Scrapping Generals and Military Failures 

McClellan was a thoroughly book-trained soldier, grad- 
uating at the head of his class at West Point — in the 
Engineer Corps. He had learned the "Art and Science 
of War" more perfectly, perhaps, than any other graduate 
of his time, and could give those whom the writer has 
attempted to describe in their snow, ice, and "tar-bucket" 
battles, "cards and spades" pertaining to all of the formu- 
las for the perfect organization, intensive drill, discipline 
and esprit de corps of a well-trained army, but he knew 
little or nothing of the Art of Fighting that army, and 
it made but little difference whether he had 50,000 or 
100,000 men, or whether he outnumbered his enemy two 
to one, he was always training and preparing and never 
ready for battle, always exaggerating his enemy into an 
overwhelming force, a veritable bete noir; always slow, 
halting, hesitating to begin the real fight — the contest 
that, sooner or later, must decide the issue — and then 
at the crucial moment when his very best reserves, which 

14 The Art and Science of War 

he had been holding for a coup de grace and should have 
been hurled in to decide the battle then and there, and 
give the enemy a "knockout" finishing blow, he still held 
it in leash — idle, expectant, but their fighting power inert 
and rendered for that battle null and void; all through 
McClellan's lack of knowledge of the true "Art of Fight- 
ing." He got hung up astride the Chickahominy river 
on the peninsula and fought a portion of his army while 
the balance remained inactive, permitting the enemy to 
mass on his right flank — this at a time when, by fighting 
his magnificently trained and supplied army as a unit and 
when the spires of Richmond were in full view, he could 
have captured that city with ease, as is now so well known. 

Without a proper personal reconnaissance of the Con- 
federate right flank at Antietam, which, it was known 
later had been stripped almost to the last man to reinforce 
the Confederate left, he delayed leaving his headquarters 
at the Pry House until nearly 1 p. m., instead of going 
to Burnside, staying with him and seeing that his (Mc- 
Clellan's) orders were carried out for an attack at 8 a. m., 
and by crossing at a shallow ford (Swavely's) about one- 
eighth of a mile below the bridge ("Burnside's), he could 
have got on Lee's right flank and swept down his line 
instead of frittering away his time until noon, and then 
making a frightfully costly assault in column — a frontal 
attack across a narrow bridge — almost a causeway — 
against an entrenched line on a steep hillside. The Con- 
federate army should have been decisively defeated at 
Antietam, and Lee either captured or his army destroyed. 
It is now known that it was what Lee feared and expected. 

Burnside was another example of a man who, while he 
may have known the Art and Science and theory of war 
— and was a noble example of unselfish patriotism, and 
devoted to his country and the Union cause — knew noth- 
ing of the "Art of Fighting" an army. To cite the battle 
of Fredericksburg, with its bloody slaughter, useless sac- 
rifice and inglorious withdrawal on that gloomy and bitter 

The Art and Science of War 15 

December night, or to attempt an analysis of all the un- 
necessary blunders and stupid orders which were notori- 
ously and conspicuously the cause of the defeat of the 
Union army, would alone almost fill a volume, and in the 
end prove a useless waste of time. Suffice it that neither 
at that nor in any other battle in which he participated 
did he show that he ever knew or had learned the true 
"Art of Fighting." 

Hooker possessed that art to a most eminent degree. 
Without knowing much about the Art and Science of War, 
he called himself and was called by his friends "Fighting 
Joe." That unique recommendation to Abraham Lincoln 
after his experience with McClellan, Pope and Burnside, 
made such an impression on him that it secured for 
Hooker his elevation to the command of an army, which, 
while it had met with some most disheartening reverses, 
was still the magnificent Army of the Potomac waiting 
for somebody who would know how to fight it. Unfor- 
tunately for Hooker, however, and for his loyal friends, 
although he had promised Mr. Lincoln and those friends 
that he would control it, he had the most unfortunate and 
almost fatal habit of getting drunk at the wrong time and 
in the wrong place, and it proved so destructive to his 
activities that his Art of Fighting became a misplaced 
talent and, as at Chancellorsville, he came to grief while 
in an inert and maudlin state — so afterwards through 
that habit and an inclination to arrogance and insubordi- 
nation when serving under a commanding general like 
Grant, his fighting efforts, with but few exceptions, were 
most unfortunate failures and disasters. It may not be 
well known, but that plan of the campaign of Chancellors- 
ville, his almost marvelous march of concentration to the 
field and the details of battle were never incubated in 
the brain of Hooker, but were worked out through a con- 
ference between Generals G. K. Warren and Henry J. 
Hunt — which was submitted to Hooker and accepted. 

16 The Art and Science of War 

Meade's Lost Opportunity 

Meade was, during most of the period of that war, a 
sick man and really unable to stand the hardships inci- 
dent thereto — all of which accounts for much of the irri- 
tability, irascibility and bad temper which he was apt 
to show, and which at times reduced him almost to a 
nervous wreck. His extreme caution at the battle of 
Gettysburg lost the Union army the opportunity of mak- 
ing Lee's defeat a most crushing one, if, perchance, it 
had not succeeded in preventing his recrossing the Poto- 
mac and the possibility of the capture of his entire army 
when he (Lee) found that his pontoon train had been 
captured and he was compelled to improvise a makeshift 
bridge to cross that river. A bold dash — a master stroke 
— a general advance upon Lee's exhausted, dispirited 
men that night would have proved an almost certain 

The writer was there — being on picket that night dur- 
ing Lee's crossing — and had an intimate knowledge of 
Lee's perilous position through deserters from the Con- 
federate lines who, coming in on our front, were sent 
into headquarters with this most valuable information, 
which should have led to an immediate advance to the 
river where the enemy — according to their statements — 
was huddled in a more or less disorganized and demoral- 
ized condition.* The slight breastworks we went 
over the next day were low and hastily thrown up and 
could hardly be called a "strong, defensive line," as has 
so often been declared by the historical falsifiers of that 
period who wrote up the campaign, but who, like "our 
artists on the spot," were not there. The fighters along 
the line and the alert pickets on the outposts often knew 
more about the situations on the front than either the 

*Note — For a confirmation of these broad statements see "Mili- 
tary Memoirs of a Confederate," by General E. P. Alexander. 
Pages 432, 439 and 441. 

The Art and Science of War 17 

commanding general or the corps, division and brigade 
commanders. Meade lost a very great opportunity. It 
was not timidity that led him to permit Lee to move his 
army back into Virginia, because that would be charging 
him with cowardice, and Meade was no coward. This 
was shown by the ability and boldness with which he 
had handled his army on the field. But he was overcau- 
tious to the extreme and would risk nothing when he 
had nothing to lose but everything to gain; all this at 
a critical moment. Having defeated Lee upon Pennsyl- 
vania soil he was more than willing to let Lee's beaten 
army get safely away without further chances. 

He listened to a council of war, and while his bravery 
and skill in conducting the operations against Lee's army, 
after being placed in command of the Army of the Poto- 
mac but for such a very short period, cannot be questioned 
— he finally lacked the audacity, boldness and necessary 
quick judgment or Art of Fighting his army that depress- 
ing, rainy period to a knockout — a solar plexus — blow and 
securing a decisive victory and perhaps terminating the 
war right then and there. But, "Quien Sabe !" We have 
some optimistic individuals today of the "Pussy Foot 
Pacifist" type who are always ready to declare — as some 
did then, that a "Good and ivise Providence" was not quite 
ready for the war to close just then, and Meade got the 
full benefit of such a chunk of wisdom. Even Lincoln 
overlooked such extreme caution, for Meade, feeling that 
there was an implied censure in Lincoln's message to 
him after the battle, tendered his resignation — which 
Lincoln, out of regard for the sensibilities of such a brave 
man, refused to accept. 

Grant's Qualities as a Real Fighter and Military 

Grant had never made a study of the "Art and Science 
of War." He did not need to, for he possessed the other 
quality — "The Art of Fighting" — to such an eminent de- 

18 The Art and Science of War 

gree that it was unequaled except, perhaps, by two other 
men in our entire army. A writer has recently said of 

(William L. McPherson in the New York Tribune of 
April 24, 1922.) "There was something puzzling and 
enigmatic about Grant's military career. He was a grad- 
uate of West Point, a trained officer, not a self-educated 
one. He belonged to our military hierarchy. Yet no one 
could have had less of the temperament and esprit of the 
soldier than he had. He was hardly a soldier in the sense 
in which Sherman, McPherson and Reynolds, on the 
Union side, or Lee, Jackson, and Joseph E. Johnston on 
the Confederate, were soldiers. He had a profound dis- 
taste for the profession of arms. * * * He was indif- 
ferent to military glory. He took no interest in the 
science of war (if you admit that there is such a thing, 
and Foch certainly questions it). He never read works 
on strategy and knew little of tactics beyond what he 
learned at West Point. * * * He once said, when asked 
the question, that he had never paid any attention to such 
a celebrated military authority as Jomimi. * * * When 
it was undertaken by some citizens of Boston after the 
Civil war to give Grant a library, it was discovered that 
he had no military books whatever. Imagine a French or 
German army commander who had never studied the 
military classics. * * * Grant had a quality, however, 
which carried him to the front * * * and kept him 
there. It was a moral quality. Charles A. Dana said 
that 'he had a temper that nothing could disturb, and a 
judgment that was judicial in its comprehensiveness and 
wisdom' * * * he never experienced trepidation upon 
confronting an enemy. Sherman said: 'When I go into 
battle I am always worrying what the enemy is going to 
do — Grant never gives a d — n.' Grant never hesitated 
about fighting." 

He knew the Civil War could only be won by fighting 
* * * and was satisfied that the North would win 

The Art and Science of War 19 

because of superiority of numbers and resources. Lin- 
coln instinctively appraised that virtue, and said: "Here 
is a general who fights!" There is nothing to show that 
Grant ever studied war in the way in which war colleges 
study it. * * * He once admitted, in reply to a question, 
applying Hardee's Tactics without having read or studied 
it through, it having been adopted after he left West 
Point. * * * He cared nothing for the refinements of 
theory. "I never maneuver!" he once said to Meade — 
and yet his Vicksburg and Chattanooga campaigns stand 
out as a finished and masterly demonstration of the Art 
of War. How did this man, who was without "Military 
Culture," in Foch's sense, rise to such heights of military 
competency?" Lincoln answered this question when he 
declared : "Here is a general who fights" — and the writer 
adds, he understood not really the Art and Science of 
War as the ordinary, educated, professional soldier under- 
stands it because he did not nor would not study it. It 
might be that he had almost an intuitive sense of that art 
— but his true "Art of Fighting" was seldom if ever 
equalled. While he loathed war, he fought only on the 
theory that there was no other way out, and fighting, 
fighting, and still more fighting meant ultimate success. 
In his Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House campaign 
he was called a "butcher," but he kept on fighting because 
he knew that game and not the kid-glove, swivel-chair art 
of a Halleck trying to fight battles hundreds of miles 
away, with only dire results. 

Besides all of this well-deserved praise he probably had 
another most valuable asset and to a much higher degree 
than those other two men, and that was his serene calm- 
ness and the absolute imperturbability of temper referred 
to by Charles A. Dana. He had that poise and equable 
balance which, in those days of bloody sweat and daily 
trial, was liable to upset the men of true, fighting temper 
and excitable natures. Coupled with all of these qualities, 

20 The Art and Science of Wae 

together with his persistence and indomitable will, was 
his rare common sense which took the place of a wagon- 
load of books he might have taken along in the field to 
teach him to dispose of his enemy scientifically, tactically, 
and strategically. A given, fixed purpose was always his, 
mixed with his rare knowledge of the "Art of Fighting." 
No such word as "can't" was in his vocabulary. The 
word "failure" never seemed to loom upon the battle 
horizon, as a remote possibility. An inflexible determina- 
tion was always his guide. Grant never stopped to con- 
sider whether the enemy outnumbered him. He knew 
what he had come out to do with his army, which he 
regarded as a fighting machine, a well-trained body of 
fighting men placed at his disposal for a specific purpose, 
and he used it for that purpose, to fight an offensive 
battle if possible, or a defensive battle should it become 
necessary — but, at all events, to fight it and not permit 
it to remain in camp, inert and inactive in the face of 
an enemy, having the life drilled, trained and disciplined 
out of it ; to become restless, and in time stale and useless 
through dry rot, depletion by desertion, sickness and 
death. So he went to it and bucked and fought — all of 
which fulfills the conditions set forth in this paper and 
to demonstrate the fact that what we will always need 
in our army are fighting leaders — fighting generals if pos- 
sible. The latter term is all right, but they must be real 
fighters as well as real leaders. Grant filled that bill. It 
was his dogged persistence in fighting to a finish — the 
real, true fighting spirit that always won out. He was 
Meade's balance wheel ; his conferences with Sherman 
were timely, friendly and always important and decisive ; 
he acted always as a check to Sheridan's fiery impulses. 
His methods of attack, while they might not have been 
strictly in accordance with the book, were a revelation 
to the enemy. Some of the present generation of soldiers 
have been fed up with the idea that he was defeated when 

The Art and Science of War 21 

he crossed the Rapidan and made his advance in the Wil- 
derness in an effort to force Lee's left flank, and by turn- 
ing it take that road towards Richmond or decisively 
defeat the Confederate army — for that was always 
Grant's objective — but this was far from being the fact ; 
he merely met with a check, and not succeeding in his 
first object — on account of the difficulty of deployment 
and pushing through such a mass of tangled underbrush 
and chaparral, inability to use his artillery, etc. — he 
quickly swung to his left and began a pushing, active 
offensive against Lee's right, which so pleased the rough- 
neck fighters and "tar bucket" scrappers of his army, 
who were quick to study up his war game and whatever 
science went with it, that they broke out into cheers that 
bright May morning, recognizing that at last they were 
not going to retrograde, turn backward, or recross those 
hateful rivers — the Rappahannock and the Rapidan. His 
bulldog tenacity in his "Art of Fighting" was a new and 
almost astounding feature in the old Army of the Potomac 
after its long and most discouraging period of dallying 
with McClellan, Burnside, and Hooker. At last it had 
found a fighter who knew how to fight it. He had no 
thought of letting go or of recrossing the Rapidan and 
had considered no plan by which he could do so. The 
people, through Congress, were willing to provide the 
education of these officers in the Art and Science of War, 
but Congress could not provide fighting generals or that 
they should learn the Art of Fighting at such a fearful 
cost. Congress was willing to provide, organize and 
train as fine an army of volunteers for fighting as the 
world ever saw. Abraham Lincoln was more than will- 
ing to appoint a general to command this trained army 
of fighters, but what he could not do — and never quite 
succeeded in doing until Grant was placed in supreme 
command of all the armies in the field — and insisted upon 
getting away from the political dry-rot and buncombe 

22 The Art and Science of War 

of Washington and staying with that army of fighters, 
the Army of the Potomac, and directing all the other 
armies of fighters — was to find a real, genuine fighter to 
command these fighting boys, who had never been prop- 
erly led in battle, so that the war might be quickly fin- 
ished up. Every one of those trained soldiers soon recog- 
nized the rare wisdom of such a far-seeing President 
when he made that wise selection of the silent Grant, 
who did not fight with his mouth, and then, before the 
battle had gone to a finish, recross the rivers we hated so 
much, but clung with a bulldog tenacity to the end and 
used the fighting material which had been moulded and 
placed in his hands for the purpose intended — the speedy 
suppression of that rebellion. 

Sherman — a Striking Example of Strategist, Tactician 
and All-around Fighter 

Sherman understood the Art and Science of War as 
well as the Art of Fighting an army, in the judgment of 
the writer, better than any other officer of all our armies. 
He was a most versatile and brilliant strategist; a suc- 
cessful tactician, a master of logistics and, as an army 
commander in the field, moving with the enemy's army 
always as his objective — always an offensive fighter — he 
was unsurpassed, and one has only to read of his advance 
to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Savannah, and his most 
wonderful campaign from Savannah north to Benton- 
ville, N. C, as his last culminating battle, to place him 
in the front rank in history as one of the world's greatest 
commanders. The military student may read for many 
years to come that great stride of his across rivers, 
creeks, sloughs, bayous, morasses, and almost impassable 
swamps — corduroying nearly every mile of the way, liv- 
ing off the country — as every wise commander should 
always do in great emergencies — always keeping all of 

The Art and Science of War 23 

his animals and transportation in serviceable condition 
— up to the mark ; brushing all enemy opposition from his 
front, and bringing that magnificent veteran army up on 
the battle line at Bentonville, N. C, in the finest condition 
for the last final struggle at the right time, in the right 
place, and in the right tvay — every man and animal fit and 
in fighting condition. There is nothing like it in the his- 
tory of that great war. 

Sheridan — a Real Game Cock Fighter with no "Bunk," 
"Frills" or "Furbelows" 

Sheridan, more than any other commander in the field, 
during that great struggle, typified — and in the highest 
degree — what the writer chooses to term the "Art of 
Fighting" as distinguished from the "Art and Science of 
War." He was the incarnation of brute force and the 
true spirit of battle; a perfect dynamo. With rare good 
sense, he combined with it a quick and most unerring 
judgment, without which the ever-changing conditions in 
battle are apt to go awry and leave a slow, plodding 
Halleck, the halting, hesitating McClellan with map in 
hand and a cut and dried plan in his pocket, hung on the 
fence, or a wind-jamming Hooker — lying absolutely out 
of the fight for nearly three days in a state of drunken, 
maudlin paralysis at the "White House" (Bullocks) on 
the Ely's Ford Road to Chancellorsville — as seen by the 
writer repeatedly from Sunday noon, May 3, until Tues- 
day night, May 5. If exact justice had been done the 
men who had to endure the suffering inflicted through 
Hooker's conduct he should have been tried and dismissed, 
cashiered or shot. In any other country, and at any other 
period than that of civil war, and when the destiny of 
this Country or the result of that war were hanging in 
the balance, that might have been his fate. It was an 
inexcusable and intolerant act; one that merited swift 

24 The Art and Science of War 

condemnation and the severest punishment.* Sheridan 
had the keen coup d'oeil and rapid fire action which, to 
insure success, should go with the hard, sledge hammer 
"Art of Fighting ;" he could hardly be called a strategist 
or tactician, yet his disposition of his forces, both infan- 
try and cavalry, and his method of posting and fighting 
his battle units were always productive of the best results. 
It may not be well known, but to him more than to any 
other general do we owe the victory of the great and 
decisive battle of Five Forks which resulted in blocking 
Lee's escape into the mountains near Lynchburg, Va., 
and the possible prolongation of the Civil War for at 
least another year. 

As related to the writer by one of his friends, long 
since dead, and also a dear friend of the late much- 
lamented General Horace Porter, who was, during the 
last year of the war the confidential aide and military 
secretary of General Grant — to whom he (Porter) told 
of Sheridan's visit to Grant's camp near Farmville while 
a most desperate effort was being made to head off Lee's 
infantry columns — and never published in this form, it 
is now given as a most valuable addition to the history 
of that war. Grant was camped in the mud. It had 
rained incessantly for several days ; the roads were almost 
bottomless, practically impassable. Sheridan was across 
the road near Five Forks vainly endeavoring to stem the 
force and continued pressing of the Confederate columns 
under Gen. John B. Gordon, — one of their best officers — 

*For full corroboration of this broad statement the reader 
is referred to the History of the 118th Pa. Vol. Inf. ("Corn 
Exchange"), page 188. The regiment was in the same brigade 
as the writer (First Brig., First Div., Fifth Corps) and was on 
the battle line at this point. We all had to pass the front of 
Hooker's headquarter tent to obtain water for cooking. This his- 
torian states what he saw — and he tells the truth — and this truth 
could have been established had we been ordered before the Com- 
mission on the Conduct of the War when Hooker's conduct was 
before it. 

The Art and Science of War 25 

who thoroughly understood the "Art of Fighting." He 
soon saw that the Confederates were going to push his 
small brigades of cavalry off the roads and get by unless 
quick action was taken. Taking a single orderly and on 
a small single-foot horse he started across the rain-soaked, 
sodden fields — for there were few or no cross roads in 
those days — to find Grant, who was about eighteen or 
twenty miles away. Porter and the staff were sitting 
around a big log fire in the cold, raw mist and drizzle, 
and with a sea of mud all about — every man with a seri- 
ous, discomfited, almost depressed look on his face. Sher- 
idan rode up bespattered with mud from head to foot 
and soaked to the skin, but with a grim, almost savage 
look of determination on his face — stern and fixed in its 
intensity. "Where is the 'Old Man?' was his first and 
only salutation. "He is there in his tent," was Porter's 
response. "Will he see me?" "Certainly!" was the reply. 
A light tap and Sheridan stalked into the cheerless, wet 
tent. He lost no time in describing the situation. "They 
are moving forward on your front, you say?" interro- 
gated Grant. "Yes," was the reply. "How can they 
move in this mud?" "Well, I know that they are, and 
will soon run over me in spite of all I can do unless I am 
reinforced," said Sheridan. Not a wheel had turned for 
more than thirty-six hours and it seemed almost hopeless 
for men to attempt to move from their bivouacs. It was 
almost like the famous "Burnside Mud March" of Janu- 
ary, 1883 — two years before. "How do you know that 
they are moving?" was Grant's final question. "My best 
scouts, who are in constant touch with them, come in 
and tell me so," Sheridan said. "What do you want?" 
"I want an infantry corps, and no wheel transportation, 
simply a few pack mules, and three days' rations, to go 
light, and as quickly as possible. I took great risks in 
leaving my command this long." Grant, still rather in- 
clined to be incredulous said, "What corps do you want?" 
"The Sixth, the same corps I had in the valley." "I can't 

26 The Art and Science of War 

give you the Sixth, but you may have the Fifth." "All 
right!" replied Sheridan, and after a brief nod and good- 
bye to the staff still hunched up in the rain about the low 
log fire, and followed by his faithful orderly he was 
single footing across the wretched, muddy fields back to 
his cavalry corps, followed in a brief hour or so by the 
Fifth Corps as a light column with plenty of ammunition, 
but no collapsible bath tubs or any other unnecessary im- 
pedimenta of the World War, and the battle of Five Forks 
was fought for the possession of the only roads leading 
south to the vicinity of Lynchburg and the near moun- 
tains. The war was won. Thus did Sheridan show the true 
"Art of Fighting," and thus did this little cavalry game- 
cock display those same qualities of generalship which 
resulted in the termination of that war and the surrender 
at Appomattox — as had been done, only on a smaller scale 
and with less decisive results — by those boys when on 
"Tar Bucket" night they had routed the enemy in well- 
fought battles during those bitter winter nights in that 
far-off, quiet seaport city by Casco's blue bay — the city 
of our grey poet's (Longfellow's) boyhood days. 

"An Army Fights on Its Stomach" 

After maneuvering their armies for days, and moving 
hither and yon over areas that were hilly and cut up into 
numerous ravines tedious for men to march over, and 
after passing nights without sufficient sleep, the men 
worn out to the point of weariness, almost exhaustion, 
it was difficult to get these bookworm generals to fight — 
when really that was the real issue — and without which 
nothing could be settled. Another thing that these non- 
fighters could never seem to realize, in their study of 
the Art and Science of War, because it is not mentioned 
in any book the writer ever saw or read on the subject — 
and that is where, without ever having served in the 
ranks, the average man, commanding troops in battle, 

The Art and Science of War 27 

could never fully understand the intelligent needs of the 
soldier — it was putting men into battle on an empty 
stomach. A man will not fight on an empty stomach and 
any general who, upon approaching a battle line, if he 
has any opportunity afforded him of giving his men a 
chance to make a cup of coffee and reinforce his stomach 
with a little food, especially after marching him up hill 
and down in a series of fool maneuvers, and does not 
do it, stands a very fair chance of being defeated, or at 
least of having his name spelled "M u d" for the balance 
of his life. Here comes in the element of more common 
sense and less book knowledge. Many a general has met 
his Waterloo because he thoughtlessly, or from lack of 
understanding his men, believed he could put them into 
battle, after a long, exhausting march, and fight them on 
an empty stomach. This is learned only from one's own 
experience, and the same common sense that was ex- 
hibited by a Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas, and by 
a Lee, Longstreet, Jackson and Johnston. 

If there was ever committed a more fatal blunder by 
any man who had profoundly studied the Art and Science 
of War, than rushing men into battle tired out, perhaps 
exhausted by a hot, grueling march, on empty stomachs, 
the writer, having been through that distressing and 
depressing experience, does not know of it. That is one 
of the many controlling factors governing the true Art 
of Fighting. On the last day and night march of nearly 
thirty-five miles to the near vicinity of Gettysburg, Gen- 
eral Geo. Sykes, commanding the Fifth Corps — that true 
exponent of the Art of Fighting — halted the corps and 
bivouacked near Boneauville, on the Hanover road at 
1 a. m., in the fields, and when we expected to go into 
battle at daylight, and ordered the men to make coffee 
and prepare their stomachs for the fight. This was the 
wise provision of a great soldier, endowed with common 
sense which cannot be studied from any book ever writ- 
ten on the Art and Science of War. There were some of 

28 The Art and Science of War 

our bookworm non-fighters who had forgotten the very- 
first essential necessary for a good fighter — and that is 
that "an army fights on its stomach." Many a battle was 
lost during that Civil War due to the forgetfulness or 
stupidity of those kinds of fighters who rely more upon 
tactics and grand strategy than they did upon any com- 
mon sense they may have possessed in feeding their men 
— filling their stomachs and getting results thereby. A 
thoroughly hungry man, especially after he has become 
practically exhausted after a hard day's march, and has 
lost faith in the man at the head of the column as a leader 
and fighter, will not fight a fly; not even a worm. 

The Twentieth Maine Volunteer Infantry was in the 
same division in which the writer served during the 
Civil War, the First, or Ked Maltese Cross Division of 
the Fifth Army Corps. That regiment was enlisted from 
all over the State, and was composed of men from at 
least ten counties — from forest, mountain, and seashore 
— Penobscot and Androscoggin lumberjacks, salt water 
sailors, farmer boys — all used to an open-air, out-of-door 
life — besides many "tar bucket" fighters from the "Forest 
City." Its first colonel was a young graduate of West 
Point. He began to lick them into shape by rule of 
thumb, to discipline and teach them the Art and Science 
of War so rapidly that it almost took the breath out of 
the line officers and rank and file. There was no insub- 
ordination nor anything approaching a revolt or mutiny, 
but a universal feeling that he did not understand them 
nor appeal to their intelligent and zealous efforts to be- 
come good officers, and while they had a full realization 
of the fact that they were raw and green and required 
a reasonable instruction in their official duties, they did 
not consider that it added much to their cultivated sense 
of the "Art of Fighting" and they resisted any effort 
to impose the martinet methods upon their true Amer- 
ican patriotic spirit. This resulted in many of the cap- 
tains and junior officers being placed in arrest and threat- 

The Art and Science of War 29 

ened with all sorts of punishments, dismissals, dire con- 
sequences, etc. This — after the Colonel had been given 
some advice — had the desired effect and after mutual 
understanding, good feeling and personal respect had 
been re-established, it proved to be one of the best fight- 
ing regiments to understand the true "Art of Fighting" 
in the army of the Potomac. 

The Supreme Effort of a Fighting Regiment — with 
Fighting Leaders 

Its supreme effort was made at Gettysburg where 
it held the extreme left flank of the Union line and 
where it had to extend its skirmishers in a thin line 
around the southwest base of Big Round Top. It was 
in the Third Brigade, commanded by Gen. Strong Vin- 
cent, who was killed, and under the soldier Governor 
of Maine, later president of Bowdoin College, it was 
engaged late in the afternoon of July 2, 1863, in a 
rough and tumble mix-up and hand to hand combat in 
the gorge between the two Round Tops, for their 
possession, with the Alabama and Texas brigades of 
Hood's division, Longstreet's Corps, which was making 
a most desperate assault in the belief that this position 
was only occuped by raw militia. To gain this position, 
which was the real key point of the entire Union line 
(as Meade, Warren, Longstreet and many others have 
always stated), was the object of this great flanking 
movement. Once the Round Tops were captured, and 
some batteries placed there, our entire line could have 
been enfiladed and swept clear to the town — the line 
taken in reverse — our battle lines doubled back, and 
all of the many trains and reserve batteries parked in 
the back area between Gulp's Hill and the Baltimore 
Pike, and our left flank would have been in great dan- 
ger of being stampeded and captured. It was a most 
desperate fight which fell almost entirely on this brigade 

30 The Art and Science of War 

(Vincent's) and this regiment. After exhausting their 
ammunition, the gallant men replenished by snatching 
cartridges from the boxes of their fallen comrades, and 
those from the enemy dead. At one time the colors 
were well within the enemy's lines and the fighting cir- 
cled about the color-bearer who, planting the staff in 
the ground and picking up a rifle, defended his flag 
with bayonet and butt of his piece. All the corporals 
and one sergeant of the color company (commanded 
by Lieut. Holman Melcher, afterwards Mayor of the 
"Forest City") were killed or wounded — only two of 
the color guard remaining unhurt. Col. Chamberlain 
was hit twice — a rebel Colonel, selecting him out of 
his command, advanced upon him with revolver in one 
hand and sword in the other; firing the pistol at him 
with one hand, he slashed at him with his sword. Two 
charges were made; rifles were clubbed, and then with 
fists and rocks, the Confederates were driven way back 
through the woods and practically to their own lines. 
Many prisoners were taken by this magnificent regi- 
ment, reported to be from 450 to 460 — more than the 
Twentieth Maine numbered — as they aggregated but 
360 on that day. Over 100 wounded prisoners were 
taken besides — with two field officers and several line 
officers and one staff officer of Gen. Law's (command- 
ing the brigade) own staff. 

The writer, when picketing in that death strewn area 
the next night, and before the wounded or dead had 
been removed, saw many bodies extending almost to 
"Devil's Den," whose heads had been crushed by rocks 
in the savage and bloody hand to hand combat on that 
fateful day among the scrub oaks and cedars of that 
then wild gorge where the Twentieth Maine had fol- 
lowed up the retreat of the enemy. 

General Chamberlain was desperately wounded at 
Petersburg; was made a Brigadier-General on the field 
by General Grant, and he had the honor, with his di- 

The Art and Science of War 

vision, including his old regiment, the Twentieth Maine, 
to receive the surrender of the Confederate Army at 
Appomattox Court House. The enemy dead in this 
bloody fight for the Round Tops were of the Fifteenth 
and Forty-seventh Alabama and the Fourth and Fifth 
Texas. No other attempt was made to attack this end 
of the line, which was held by that gallant regiment 
like a vise to the end. 

The Alabamians and Texans were no match for the 
double-fisted lumber jacks of the Maine forests, nor the 
sailor boys and "tar bucket" huskies of the old Pine 
Tree State, in a hand to hand melee and mix-up. It 
took the young West Point colonel, after many trials, 
tribulations and heart burnings, some months to point 
out the way to the Art and Science of War, but it re- 
mained for that calm, quiet, gray-eyed native son (later 
Governor of Maine and President of Bowdoin College) 
who knew the scrapping qualities of his "Dirigo" boys 
to lead up to and over the rugged slopes of the Round 
Tops where they could practise the true "Art of Fight- 
ing" without too much tactical "bunk" and maneuver- 
ing. There was the fight. There was no time to study 
or discuss the "Art and Science." They were the men 
who knew how to fight, and so they "went to it," and 
they needed no books. In that battle, so General 
Chamberlain reported, "All of the 'absent sick' went 
into the fight" — he dismissed his 'pioneers' and the 
'provost guard' which had charge of the men under 
arrest — all of whom rushed in, 'locked horns,' and did 
most gallant service." (See "Maine at Gettysburg.") 

The Fighting Qualities of the Fighting Generals and 
the Fighting Men Won the Civil War 

It was not the Art and Science of War but the dogged 
pertinacity, the infinite patience and dauntless courage 
under almost disheartening conditions, of a Grant — 

32 The Art and Science of War 

the incessant hammering, rugged perseverance, fixed 
determination, common sense and brilliant action of a 
Sherman — the unconquerable purpose and matchless, 
inflexible spirit and bravery of the "Rock of Chicka- 
mauga," George H. Thomas — the bulldog grip and tire- 
less fighting of a little "Phil" Sheridan — all of whom 
knew the "Art of Fighting," that won the sanguinary- 
battles of those four long years of Civil War. If any- 
body saw any complicated tactical maneuvering or any 
grand strategy displayed on those murderous and 
bloody battlefields, it must have been by one from the 
rear of the battle lines — some artist, photographer or 
newspaper correspondent, — for the writer did not. It 
was generally the soldiers who won out, fighting under 
the incomparable leadership of those magnificent line 
officers who had thoroughly learned the game of war, 
as it was actually played and not as newspaper corre- 
spondents, space writers, and artists thought it ought to 
he played, and when those fighting leaders were down on 
the line — not at some "rest area" — the leading was done 
without any "bunk," "lugs" or "frills." The courage and 
devotion of the fighters in the Army of the Potomac was 
sublime, and amid all and in spite of all the reckless and 
stupid generalship displayed its sadly torn ranks stood 
firm and undaunted when those leaders who knew and 
practiced the "Art of Fighting" finally brought it to the 
last goal at Appomattox. 

It was those men of quick, unerring judgment and 
rapid-fire action, combined with rare, good, horse sense 
that made success certain in the campaigns and battles, 
of both the Civil and World Wars, and not the men of 
uncertain, plodding mentality and halting, hesitating, in- 
decisive action, with minds always painfully centered 
on what the books had taught them and always unwilling 
to receive advice from those about them who had had 
plenty of battle experience. 

The Art and Science of War 33 

Grant, while he was generally invisible to the men, was 
directing and his presence was always known and felt. 
Sherman, while he was always visible, was an inspiring 
force. Thomas, the silent, grim soldier, was ever a tower 
of strength. While Sheridan, the incarnation of battle, 
was the game cock that never wavered. 

These combined all of the fundamentals — courage, de- 
votion, loyalty and skill in the leading and handling of 
men in battle, which few men can do — and all without 
the telegraph, the telephone, the typewriter, the bombing 
airplane, the motor truck, first aid, elaborate base hos- 
pitals, rest areas for exhausted divisions, comfortable 
billets for reserves, Red Cross, and almost countless auxil- 
iaries or accessories which contributed so materially to 
our gallant fighters in the A. E. F. during the late World 

Universal Military Training Necessary for Better 

The next best, and perhaps the only way now left open 
for the quick and most certain method to develop a new 
bunch of real American fighters for our future army per- 
sonnel — now that our "tar bucket night," "North End," 
"Dock-Square," and "Bunker Hill" fighters have become 
like the "dodo," an extinct species, and the other methods 
of developing them have practically disappeared — while 
a genuine pussy-footed race of pacifists ("No-more-wars" 
patriots) have taken their places and are apparently now 
preponderating; also to avoid or gradually eliminate 
a breed or race of mongrels, hybrids and near-sighted, 
knock-kneed, stoop-shouldered, flat-chested lot of "cake- 
eaters," and shambling "molly-coddles," from thirty per 
cent to forty per cent of whom have got to be culled out 
of any would-be organized army and dumped into the 
scrap heap — in case of any future and sudden war being 
forced upon us. This plan is to adopt now, bending all 

34 The Art and Science of War 

of our energies to the task, and without any further delay, 
argument or discussion, a universal military training for 
the United States as an essential part of our national 
school system or curriculum, and to include all boys from 
twelve to eighteen years of age — the youngest boys, from 
twelve to fourteen, to have a thorough military "setting 
up" (Military calisthenics and physical exercises), all 
to be organized into companies and battalions for march- 
ing, camping and all other military purposes; the older 
boys to be drilled under arms a certain number of hours 
each week so that it would not in any way interfere with 
their regular studies — and all to be placed in training 
camps for at least thirty days every summer, there to 
be taught a thorough use of the rifle and to be given the 
maximum practice on the target range. A few marches, 
short at first, and field maneuvers could be given them to 
teach self-reliance, camp and campaign methods of biv- 
ouacking, etc., and to harden their muscles. The physical 
training of the youth of America, whether school athletics 
or military setting-up exercises are employed, should be 
participated in by all if we wish to see the growing boy 
changed from the present narrow, stoop-shouldered, flat- 
chested scuffing specimen, now seen in the streets, to an 
erect, alert, manly looking lad. Instead of football elevens 
and baseball nines — a select few with crowds of admir- 
ing, screaming, hysterical fans and loud, clacking backers 
— let us have something that includes the entire student 
body so that such training will put every school boy in 
the healthy bodily state to permit the very top-notch func- 
tioning of his mental powers. In but few of the public 
schools of this country is such a training shown today, 
all of which may and does account for many of the defec- 
tives which any man who has been trained as a soldier 
may see in his daily walks, and who, when war may again 
be forced upon us, are bound to be thrown into the dis- 
card heap as non-effectives and military derelicts. 

The Art and Science of War 35 

This training, rather than inculcating the spirit of mili- 
tarism — as our white-livered pacifists declare would be 
the result — or fostering a war-like spirit, would make for 
a better citizenship which, in a few years, would be most 
astounding in its results, and would be universally praised 
by all, especially the mothers, who would like to see her 
"George" a straight, upright, manly looking boy rather 
than a weak, puling derelict without shape, force, deci- 
sion, ambition or direction. It would be a business asset, 
besides. No business man likes to see, much less to em- 
ploy, a sloppy, ill-shaped, dull-faced, shuffling boy who, 
scuffing and with feet wide apart, comes into the presence 
of an alert man, and in answer to his questions invari- 
ably answers "Yep !" But, he will more likely employ 
the alert lad who, well "set-up," erect and with shoulders 
back, with good carriage and manly presence, and heels 
together, answers all questions with a respectful and 
snappy "Yes, Sir!" or "No, sir!"* 

To understand or to have a full appreciation of the 
benefits conferred upon a young boy, it is well known by 
experience that not only do they readily acquire an erect 
and soldierly bearing and easy carriage, and have been 
taught how to command and execute as well as to develop 
and quicken all of their perceptions and mental processes, 
but, under a form of government like ours — which seems 
to have a most rabid suspicion and dislike for any army 
or navy whatever — and while we are vainly endeavoring 
to digest and assimilate in this great "melting pot" of 
ours, which fails to melt, merely coming to a boil, count- 
less swarms of children of foreign-born parents in our 
public schools ; this military training is the greatest fac- 
tor — and the writer declares this from a full knowledge 
and a wide experience in this work — for the speedy 
Americanization of the same, as well as being the great- 

*Note — Perhaps this mental picture and its application to some 
of the boys of the present generation — the so-called "Willie-Boys," 
"Johnnies" and "Cake-Eaters" may be clearly recognized. 

36 The Art and Science of War 

est leveler known. While it is assumed that all are not 
born "free and equal," this work, well co-ordinated in the 
public schools, affords all — rich and poor, black and 
white — conditions of society an equal opportunity for a 
rapid physical and mental development, and they all 
enjoy it after they begin to know and see its real benefits. 
They would all surely enjoy and immensely benefit by 
the camp experience — care being taken to make it attrac- 
tive and not too severe or too sudden as was the case 
in some of our large training cantonments. 

The lessons of obedience and discipline (now that it is 
being observed that young people are becoming lawless 
and getting away from the old-fashioned home training 
and parental control) which boys have learned through 
this training and who have carried it into their business 
careers, have never been forgotten. These lessons are 
almost incalculable. The friendships formed during their 
shoulder-to-shoulder service, as has been shown at West 
Point and Annapolis, are always more durable than could 
ever have resulted from mere college or university 
association. Youth, even from a very tender age, should 
be taught to know, respect and obey the law. At present 
they are not so taught. Military training inculcates dis- 
cipline through prompt obedience to lawful orders or 
commands, and both should be and are potent factors in 
the restoration of parental authority and control which, 
as everybody knows, instead of being a prime essential 
in the rightful training of future citizens has, for a long 
time, been a decidedly neglected function. Whither are 
we drifting? All this would seem to need no further 
discussion or argument to convince anyone except an 
incorrigible pacifist. 

When the United States became involved in the World 
War, the men who had received such training in the 
schools of this country, especially those of the Boston 
High Schools, were immediately available and rendered 
invaluable aid, especially as officers and instructors in 

The Art and Science of War 37 

the large training camps. Once established, and the 
benefits which have been pointed out could be seen, the 
steady growth of such a universal military training 
throughout the United States would be a matter for 
public felicitation, and besides, we would no longer need 
to worry over the bugaboo of non-preparedness, for with 
arms in the reserve supply depots and millions of young 
men who had had this preparation — the preparation for 
better citizenship — even though all might then be engaged 
in civil pursuits, they would be ready at the call, while 
our standing or regular army need never be a large 
one. All this at a ridiculously low cost, the boys fur- 
nishing their own uniforms as a part of their school 
dress. They would be simply furnished with their sub- 
sistence, while serving a thirty-day camp tour, and their 
camp outfit — blankets, marching kit, etc. All of the 
details could be worked out by our General Staff. There 
are now more than six thousand schoolboys undergoing 
this training — all except the thirty-day camp tour — in 
the Boston public schools, under one of the most compe- 
tent military instructors in the country, Colonel Charles 
A. Ranlett. He was at West Point for two years — 
1894-1896 — not being able to complete his course on ac- 
count of some slight physical defect, which thus far has 
never debarred him from military service; he was at 
the training camp at Plattsburg; went over to France 
as a major (temporary lieutenant-colonel) ; was on Gen- 
eral Bullard's staff and as an all-around, efficient trainer 
and military instructor of these young boys has, prob- 
ably, no superior in the country. 

The Boston people have, for over fifty years, always 
fully appreciated the value of this training for their boys ; 
have a true pride in it and it would be very difficult, if 
not an absolute impossibility, to now abolish it from their 
public schools. Many of the young, superb officers of the 
famous Twenty-sixth ("Yankee") Division of fighters 

38 The Art and Science of War 

came from these Boston school organizations.* Such a 
scheme of universal military training for all of the youth 
of this nation — so imperfectly and briefly outlined would, 
it must be clear, obviate the necessity for a periodical 
hysteria and crazy rush for preparedness whenever war 
shall have overtaken us or, rather whenever we shall 
have been kicked into it. A vain, almost criminal, at- 
tempt to raise a million men over night for war— a la 
William J. Bryan — and putting them improperly trained 
into battle for cannon fodder. 

German Tactics and Strategy for Our Army 

But now, in the face of our experience and the neces- 
sity for re-establishing ourselves again, not as a military 
nation but as a country in a state of preparedness for 
our future safety, comes this most amazing announce- 
ment in the public press, which follows: that hereafter 
we, as a nation, are to learn not only the Art and Science 
of War, but the Art of Fighting from a Ludendorff and 
a Hindenburg and the methods of the German General 
Staff in the art of supply, etc. 

(Washington Times, Thursday, June 8, 1922.) "U. S. to Learn 
Strategy of Ludendorff. Military Secrets of High Command Now 
Studied by American Officers. 'Military secrets of the German 
High Command during the World War have been bared to officers 
of the United States army for use in future wars, it was learned 
on highest authority today. Representatives of the War Plans 
Division, American general staff, are now in Berlin making an ex- 
haustive study of hitherto closely guarded records of the German 
war office. 

*Note — For confirmation of this and as a further evidence of the 
pressing need and great value of such a training of our boys in the 
public schools for better citizenship and to teach them discipline, 
law and order and Americanization attention is called to the re- 
port of the Chamber of Commerce of Cleveland, Ohio, upon the 
resolution of the Cleveland Board of Education asking for the 
same, a transcript of which may be found in the Army and Navy 
Journal of September 9, 1922, page 34. 

The Art and Science of War 39 

" 'American army officers of the next war will have the benefit 
of a thorough knowledge of the organization, training and tactics 
of the Kaiser's armies. The strategies of Ludendorff and Hinden- 
burg in their desperate campaigns to save the Fatherland, it was 
learned, will probably form the basis of text books in the United 
States Army War College. 

" 'Lieut. Col. Walter Krueger, of the War Plans Division, U. S. A., 
is in charge of the work now being carried on in Berlin. Complete 
reports of his researches among the archives of the German war 
office are being forwarded to the War College here, where the ma- 
terial is in process of arrangement for presentation in various 
sources of instruction provided for high ranking officers of the 
American army. 

" 'The subject matter of these reports first will be presented to 
American officers in the form of lectures. Later these lectures 
probably will be produced in book form, with commentaries by 
American military experts upon the manner in which their lessons 
may be applied to the American army. 

" 'American experts are frank to admit there is much to be 
learned of the military science from study of the records of the 
German staff. Particular attention is being paid to the German 
supply system, which is regarded by military authorities as prob- 
ably the most complete and efficient ever devised.' " 

In war there are certain factors which are always 
constant. One of these factors, as has already been 
stated, is the "Art of Fighting." It matters little 
whether 1 the principles governing the Art and Science 
of War for that period — '1861 to 1865 — did, or did not 
apply during the late World War, or could apply now 
or in the future, it is certainly manifest that the Art of 
Fighting did apply, and it applies now and ever will in 
future wars — it is a constant factor; it never dies — and 
it is quite as certain that we Americans can never learn 
that art from the Germans. This was clearly shown 
when our well-trained American divisions, after in- 
tensively training our men here in every detail of trench 
fighting according to the methods which the Germans 
had, for a purpose, initiated and vigorously pursued 
for nearly three years — and later, when our men 
reached the French and British training areas in 

40 The Art and Science of War 

France, we chose to change our system or Art of Fight- 
ing and broke through the "Hindenburg Line," got the 
Germans out in the open and then never stopped until 
the very best of the Hun shock troops had been thor- 
oughly taught, not the Art and Science of War, but the 
true American "Art of Fighting." Any of our American 
division commanders, with whom that Art of Fighting 
was either not inherent or who had failed to assidu- 
ously cultivate it during some perod of his life, whether 
a graduate of West Point or otherwise, was duly 
"scrapped" or "canned" and replaced by fighters. It 
was amazing how many there were. Some of them 
did not measure up to a live, wide-awake, scrapping 
corporal ofl the Fourth Cavalry in the old days of In- 
dian Campaigning, simply because they did not have 
the fighting spirit, nor could they have acquired it by 
any amount of education; moreover, they lacked the 
initiative, force or push, military alertness and stick- 
to-it quality necessary to make a good, active soldier 
for field or battle work. It was little short of a crime 
to place them in command of men who had been 
trained for fighters and when battle was impending. 

To begin now and feed our young American officers 
and military students at our War College, even with 
the remotest principles of the German methods, either 
by applying them to the Art and Science of War or the 
Art of Fighting, especially the latter, seems to the 
writer not only an absolute absurdity and a travesty, 
but a ridiculous farce and almost unpardonable insult 
to the real intelligence of our American youth, who, if 
they had never been taught any other one thing in their 
lives, especially in the profession of arms — ever since 
the writer was old enough to know anything about the 
military traditions of our army — it was to have com- 
plete faith that there was never a full-bred-red-blooded 
American living, who had been properly trained, who 
could not whip the paunch off any German who ever 

The Art and Science of War 41 

lived of equal years, height, weight, and condition of 
health. The writer has trained Americans, Irish and 
Irish-Americans, Germans and German-Americans, 
Italians and Italian-Americans, Spanish and Spanish- 
Americans, Russians and Russian-Americans, English, 
Canadians, French and French-Americans, Poles and 
Mexicans, and taking every thing equal, he never saw a 
full blooded and thoroughly trained American soldier 
— once he could be properly controlled and disciplined 
— who couldn't whip any of his comrades of other na- 
tionalities in a fair, stand-up fight. A German made a 
very good, clean, smart and tractable barrack soldier, and 
was more amenable to discipline than the American, due, 
possibly, to a more careful or strict home training. But 
as to his scrapping qualities and fighting stamina the 
writer never saw him stand up with a husky, two-fisted 
American either in barracks or in the field. He generally 
excelled in, or did his fighting through bluster, brag, 
bluff and a badger-like noise — such as one generally heard 
in a German beer garden — and, as was demonstrated 
from 1914 to 1918, he chose to do most of his fighting 
under ground. The writer saw an entire division of 
Germans, who, at that period of the Civil War (1862- 
1863) were said to be fairly representative types of 
the trained and disciplined armies of Germany, run 
out of two great battles of that war — Chancellorsville 
and Gettysburg — and jeopardize the safety of the 
Union army on both occasions. They were absolutely 
panic stricken, demoralized and disorganized, with the 
fight all out of them. No herd of buffalo or cattle were 
ever more panic stricken. Then why do we want our 
young officers pointed out any of the methods which 
either Hindenburg or Ludendorff employed during that 
period of atrocious carnage and double-faced, crooked 
warfare, when poison gas, liquid fire, poisoned wells, 
and all sorts of low down, underhand tricks and ter- 
rorizing methods were employed by a bunch of red- 

42 The Art and Science of War 

handed Huns and savage beasts and vandals? Why 
do we want any such accursed methods brought into 
our American War College, such as were never known 
or heard of among our American fighters since our 
earliest Colonial history, and from the days of Daniel 
Boone down to our Civil War? 

There is nothing in the Art of Fighting or the meth- 
ods, as clearly demonstrated by any or all of our best 
Civil War or World War fighters and leaders, that could 
be learned from either a Hindenburg or a Ludendorff, 
with their overpowering and bull-like clumsy rushes of 
shock troops. Of course the field tactics of our armies 
which had been fought during our Civil War in mass 
formation had to be changed, and Gen. Emory Upton 
was quick to observe this and was the first officer of our 
army to make that change. We now possess the most 
elastic system of tactics in the world. Just as soon as 
the German trench and underground, gopher-hole 
method had to be changed, and that was just as soon 
as the trained Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth Divisions 
of American troops broke the Hindenburg line — then 
was the fighting superiority and initiative of our intelli- 
gent American boys seen and felt. After all, the final 
battles ivill ahvays have to be fought on top of ground. 
There are no troops in the world better fitted by initi- 
ative and dash than American troops for open, above- 
the-ground-field-fighting, and it would be a folly and a 
shame to now retrograde and take up the study of any 
of the German goose-step-barrack-soldier systems or 
underground, gopher-hole methods of defense. Let us 
stick close to what we accomplished in that World War 
under the inspiration of Pershing, Liggett, Bullard, 
Summerall, Dickman, Lewis (William), Hahn, Lejeune, 
O'Ryan, Harbord, Reed, Neville, Alexander, Ely, Mc- 
Alexander, Menoher, Smedley Butler, and a host of other 
American fighters who, having once got the German 
guards on the run, kept them running. If wars in the 

The Art and Science of War 

future are to be fought by the aid of auxiliaries such as 
tanks, bombing airplanes, grenades, and the use of gases, 
those units can have special training, but let us confine 
our studies closely to our own methods of strictly in- 
fantry line fighting (the more elastic the better), which 
have always been successful after we once took the 
pace and got on to our stride. Our young officers, es- 
pecially the graduates of West Point, need to go to no 
German barbarians for instruction or to gain any inspi- 
ration from them in order to learn the ''Art of Fighting" 
The history of this republic ever since its formation af- 
fords ample proof that when we relied upon the knowl- 
edge and genius of our own fighters we have always 
been uniformly successful. The trouble has always 
been to find the real fighters, as distinguished from the 
fellows who had assiduously studied and knew the Art 
and Science of War and implicitly believed that it stood 
for or spelled — fighting. The experience of our soldiers 
in past wars of this country has been, and should be in 
the future, of the greatest value to them. Let us not 
turn to the dark pages of Germany's wars for any en- 
lightenment to the brave fighters of America. The whole 
scheme looks like a piece of carefully worked up 

General Sheridan states in his personal memoirs, Vol. 
II, page 451-2, that as an observer in the Franco-Prus- 
sian War he saw "no new military principles developed, 
whether of strategy or grand tactics. He might have 
added, or in the "Art of Fighting." 

He leaves to "conjecture" how either the French or 
German armies "would have got along with our bottom- 
less roads from the Wilderness to Petersburg and from 
Chattanooga to Atlanta and the sea." 

He is also said to have privately stated to a friend — 
but not for publication — that with both Union and Con- 
federate veteran armies — just as they were in 1865 — he 
could have made "short work" of and "whipped out of 

44 The Art and Science of War 

their boots" both the French and Germans which he saw 
engaged in several severe battles and at close range. 

There were certainly no new principles during the late 
world war as applied to the real "Art of Fighting" that 
would differ in the slightest degree from that which has 
been noted in every war in which an American army 
has been engaged. When the lines closed in the best 
fighters won out. All else was in the dark and under 

Balck's "The Development of Tactics — World War" 

To show how prone we are to turn to foreign countries 
for our strategy and tactics, our uniforms, our equip- 
ments — even to the latest craze of changing our old Amer- 
ican cowboy seat in the saddle, with long stirrups, and the 
men retaining their erect positions, but regulating them 
with the motions of their horse — this has all given way 
to the "posting," "roaching" or rise in the saddle, the 
men leaning in the most ungraceful attitudes which, in 
the days of the writer's cavalry service, was not only 
considered "bad form" and un-American, but laughed 
and jeered at as poor equitation and something to be 
immediately remedied in a trooper who practiced it, as 
the strongest proof of poor riding. 

And now there comes to the writer from the Book 
Department, General Service Schools at Fort Leaven- 
worth, an announcement that it has acquired the Ameri- 
can rights of translation of a German book by one Balck 
of the defunct German army on "The Development of 
Tactics — World War," who, according to Colonel H. A. 
Drum, Assistant Commandant, "discusses authoritatively 
the German tactical viewpoint and also endeavors to 
apply the German war experiences to future wars." In 
the same breath and in spite of this announcement, and 
in connection with Colonel Drum's comments, it is urged 
upon Americans "with the idea of furnishing military 

The Art and Science of War 45 

readers of this country with a book of real value" While 
Colonel Drum states that the book is "extremely inter- 
esting and instructive to military students" "American 
students of this book are cautioned to avoid blind accept- 
ance of all teachings embodied therein." * * * "National 
and racial characteristics are fundamental considera- 
tions in the adoption of tactical doctrines. The war on 
the western front does not represent the ideals, methods 
and objectives of military leaders who believe and advo- 
cate the principles underlying open ivarfare situations 
and the supremacy of the human element over the me- 
chanical device." 

After this carefully worded opinion, comment and bit 
of advice, with which the writer most cordially agrees, 
as it all comes within the scope of this paper, Colonel 
Drum then adds, "With such caution in mind, the Ameri- 
can military student will derive many benefits from a 
careful study of this book." And that is just where the 
writer, who has had plenty of experience, both in the 
Civil War and in Indian wars, most radically disagrees 
with such conclusions. 

If this mixed caution and advice is not paradoxical 
it is certainly anomalous and enigmatical. 

In the name of common sense of what "real value," or 
how can the "American military student derive many 
benefits from a careful study" of that translated book on 
German tactics of that war on the western front if it 
does not represent the "ideals, methods and objectives of 
American military leaders?" etc., and by this it is as- 
sumed that it means the leaders or "fighters" who, emu- 
lating the example of Pershing, Liggett, Bullard, Dick- 
man, Summerall, and the other army and corps com- 
manders who have already been cited, are to become the 
leaders of American soldiers in future wars. Then, why 
not can all of this German propaganda, get back to our 
own fighting systems and methods by which we cleaned 
up the German strategists and tactical sharps and "stick 

46 The Art and Science of War 

to our own last," letting our officers continue to study 
their own "Development of Tactics — World War." If 
we could learn nothing from them — the Germans — dur- 
ing that war, we can certainly learn nothing now or in 
the future except atrocious methods and brutal savagery. 
Too many of our young officers have become obsessed 
with and too much stress has been laid upon the value of 
tactics, and the ability to execute tactical maneuvers 
upon a field of battle. After the first deployment for- 
ward and the firing has begun, no tactical formations 
can be maintained, or only for a short period, and for 
reasons heretofore given. So the main points in main- 
taining any semblance of battle line formations is to 
observe as simple tactics as possible, and as long as 
practicable, and then rely upon the coolness, discipline, 
fighting spirit and good leadership of the line officers 
with morale unimpaired, and keep up the fighting. There 
are no better examples of no tactics, but fine leadership 
known in the history of the World War than in the cases 
of Sergeants Alvin York and Woodfill, both Medal of 
Honor men and recipients of many foreign decorations. 
Yet the one was a Tennessee mountaineer while the other 
was no tactician — and both of them would have probably 
been found deficient in a class at West Point had they 
been examined and asked how their gallant deeds were 
tactically accomplished when they won their decorations 
and to explain to the class the tactical movements. It is 
extremely doubtful if either of them could have drilled 
a company of infantry tactically or to the satisfaction 
of a newly graduated cadet at West Point. They were 
simply endowed with plenty of common sense, but more 
than that, with the true fighting spirit or "Art of Fight- 
ing," which always gets men there if they want to fight 
and do not stop to work out all of the tactical combina- 
tions which the Art and Science of War teaches — lays 
down — but does not explain how it shall all be done or 
worked out when in a real wild cat battle, and when a 

The Art and Science of War 47 

man's true fighting sense is the real factor which has 
got to be brought into full play. Would it not be far 
better for us to teach our young officers and men more 
of our American initiative, more of the tactics that fit 
into our "racial characteristics" and our "systems and 
methods" which we have always employed, especially in 
view of the comments of the heads of the Service Schools 
at Fort Leavenworth? Why attempt to convert our 
army into a purely student body in an effort to saturate 
them with books — and especially German books — dealing 
with the "Art and Science of War," instead of spending 
that time in developing their initiative and fighting sense, 
and in a practical application — not of German methods — 
but of American world war experiences as worked out 
in France by our own American fighters, and on our own 
battlefields for four long, weary years of civil war? 

The average war college and service school student 
officer seems to have become fed up with the idea that 
we need in our army some other system than our own — 
the German for instance — to develop it into a more highly 
organized and perfect fighting machine, using the argu- 
ment that because we have no adequate or well-defined 
system, and because Congress will not favor or support 
whatever plan or system which the General Staff has so 
often recommended, it becomes necessary to adopt some 
other, and why not the German? 

That, in the judgment of the writer, is neither a good 
nor a sufficient reason, nor is it a logical one. If Con- 
gress does not nor will not approve of or support the 
American system, such as it now is, after being engaged 
in the World War, much less would it recognize, consent 
to adopt, or suppport for a moment any other, especially 
the German, because, under our form of government 
that would smack of militarism, pure and simple. Con- 
gress will not even approve of the plan — so often and so 
highly recommended by the general staff and by General 
Pershing himself — which would place us in a state of 
preparedness in the quickest possible way and with the 

48 The Art and Science of War 

least possible expense, and which has been so strongly- 
urged in this paper — universal military training in the 
public schools as a part of our national education. If 
so, then it behooves us to stick closely to what we have 
already demonstrated as being the best we can get and 
which, when in war we came in contact with Germany's 
highly organized army — and it was fully tested out from 
Chateau-Thierry and the Meuse-Argonne drive to Sedan 
— proved to be the best in the world. 

It is true that we are not a military nation and at 
present we have no expectations of becoming one, but 
we have descended from a long line of fighting ancestors ; 
can very soon develop their (those ancestors') fighting 
spirit, and have fully demonstrated many times in our 
history that with our initiative and capacity for fighting, 
even with no military policy and a system heavily 
weighted down at present with prejudice and opposition 
by pacifists, it is better to "stick to our last" and not 
turn to other nations, especially Germany, to bring upon 
us more prejudice and still more unreasonable opposi- 
tion. That would certainly be our last straw, our last 
remaining hope of ever expecting to come back to "our 
own" — our individuality and inherent fighting spirit as 
a nation. 

Any efforts to feed up or saturate our young officers 
with a German military spirit or with their war organ- 
ization and plans or to apply the same to our system 
would meet with a storm of disfavor. "We should not 
abandon what we have because we cannot have what 
we want." 

It is not so very long since that we heard from the 
halls of Congress — and the writer distinctly recalls it — 
that both West Point and Annapolis, far from being the 
democratic schools which they should be, and which the 
American people intended them to be, were "hot beds 
of aristocracy." 

The Art and Science of War 49 

They would not tolerate turning those two academies 
into schools whose graduates were inclined to imbibe the 
German Art and Science of War, or even their highly 
organized plans and systems which the German General 
Staff and "High Command" used in conducting war 
which — because, for a while in a campaign of barbarity 
and atrocious terrorism, got a tight hold and sank into 
the brains of the world — now bids fair to communicate 
its virus to our War College and Service Schools, and 
through them to the entire army, committing us, in the 
writer's judgment, to a most fatal error. Should such 
a step be taken it will practically be an acknowledgment 
that neither West Point, the War College nor the Service 
Schools are capable of solving our own American war 
problems and our American "Art of Fighting in the 
American way, and sooner or later there will be a howl 
from Congress and the people to abolish not only West 
Point but perhaps our entire military establishment. The 
army has been pretty well "shot to pieces" as it is. 

Practical Emergency Tactics at Gettysburg 

At Gettysburg the volunteer regiment in which the 
writer served was about to be flanked. A portion of 
Hood's Confederate Division, Longstreet's Corps, was 
being marched obliquely along or across its front and 
around its right. No orders could be heard in the wild 
din and uproar of the battle at that moment. The rifle 
fire and cannonading was incessant. Word was passed 
along the line to "Change front to rear by the right 
flank !" Hardee's Tactics accurately prescribed the move- 
ment, which under most favorable conditions was an 
intricate one. It was a physical impossibility to execute 
it as laid down in that wonderful book (We were in 
woods with large boulders scattered about), so common 
sense stepped in and took its place. The command was 
given "About face!" We marched to the rear, carrying 

50 The Art and Science op War 

all of our wounded on blankets fastened to rifles — 
through "Rose's Woods" into the big wheatfield. En 
route we passed through Caldwell's division of the Sec- 
ond Corps, marching by its flank in column obliquely to 
our left to extend our line and support Birney's division 
of the Third Corps, then hard pressed. As soon as the 
"Wheat Field" was reached the line was halted, faced 
about, the new left wing was ordered to make a right 
half wheel, while the former left wing was ordered to 
refuse its right a few paces ("right backward, march, 
firing!") and we were soon firing Northwest. When the 
movement was begun we had been firing Southwest. It 
was all done coolly, under a terrific fire — the veteran 
line officers simply steadying the disciplined men with 
their voices, and the men maintaining their fighting 
spirit, morale and guts. This brief recital is a very fair 
sample — in fact it is a true illustration — of how such 
tactical movements were executed on a battlefield under 
those conditions, and that kind of a fire. Furthermore 
no such commands as were given for the execution of 
that movement can be found in Hardee's or any other 
system of tactics. No German Tactics, written by a 
Balck, could disturb any combination like that, or the 
strategy and tactics of the two fighting sergeants — York 
and Woodfill — already cited. The query naturally arises, 
how can the almost phenomenal deeds of these two sol- 
diers be accounted for? Will anybody contend that they 
were due to the daily tactical drills and long, drawn-out, 
intensive training that they had in the big camps prior 
to their departure for France and before they had had 
the opportunity to show the fighting stuff they were 
made of, the daring and cool nerve which led them, when 
isolated from their command and away from the eyes 
of their officers, to go up against machine gun nests and 
to paralyze their German enemies with their ready wits, 
adroit moves and determined, decisive action? Most 
assuredly it was not! 

The Art and Science of War 51 

To attempt the almost marvellous feats of these two 
clear-headed, double-fisted fighters would seem to have 
been a dare-devil, almost foolhardy act, and yet when 
each is considered and analyzed and placed in the light 
of the omissions and commissions of some of our battle- 
field tacticians, fed up on their book knowledge of how 
such affairs should be conducted by the hard-and-fast 
rules and cut-and-dried plans, by which they had been 
taught, there is a cunning, a fighting sense and balance 
— a battle psychology which, with the sangfroid of the 
brave actors, accounts in a degree, if not fully, for their 
most surprising success, and for which, even the Medal 
of Honor seems to be a very insignificant and inadequate 

It is true they had the opportunity (which does not 
come to all men in battle), afforded them for the develop- 
ment of all their mental and physical powers. Better 
than all, however, they were both all-around, quick, 
ready, off-hand rifle and pistol shots — the best camp 
training any man can possibly be given (and he cannot 
have too much of it) — and by off-hand is meant off the 
target range, with its favorable factors of heat, light, 
wind and enforced silence. They thus had that supreme 
confidence in their weapons that every well-trained 
sharpshooter has, and which could have been gained by 
no other kind of training — certainly by no long and 
tiresome tactical drills. 

It was the same kind of confidence that we saw among 
our Jack Tar manhandlers in the old "Forest City" so 
many years ago on "Tar Bucket" nights — those young 
fighters who at from eighteen to twenty years of age, 
and as. mates, with their fathers as captains, had sailed 
the splendid clipper ships and square riggers of that 
period across the seas and around the world. There is 
no confidence like that which comes from an all-around, 
practical experience with the world — one's weapons of 
defense — and the conscious ability to handle one's self 

52 The Art and Science of War 

in any and every emergency and crisis when danger 
becomes a menace to life. York and Woodfill possessed 
this mental poise, horse sense and balance to an eminent 
degree, and they had a perfect knowledge of their 
weapons. This consciousness of that knowledge and their 
physical courage did the trick. Why not train all of our 
men in camp in the same way ? They would simply meas- 
ure up in varying degrees to their mental capacities or 
intelligence and physical strength. We could not expect 
to have all of them turn out Yorks and Woodfills. 

The writer is by no means advocating or urging the 
abolishment of tactics in field operations, or that any 
military organization should degenerate into mere mob 
fighting. Far from it; no disciplined or battle-seasoned 
body of men under competent officers and good leader- 
ship could ever become a mob. But he does urge the 
teaching of our officers and men the most elastic emer- 
gency or battle tactics, perfect fire control and the most 
intelligent, effective leadership. The latter is absolutely 
necessary. Without fighting leadership the best disci- 
plined soldiers in the world would soon go to pieces 
under such conditions as the writer has attempted to 
describe and has actually seen, for, when the mathemati- 
cal units, upon which any system of tactics absolutely 
depends, begin to be destroyed, then any fighting soldiers 
can see at once that the issue of that battle depends 
entirely upon the fighting spirit and unimpaired morale 
of the fighting units, and the ability of trained officers 
to hold them down to their work. 

Braddock's Defeat — Minute Men Fighters 

Let us go back to history for a moment. The worst 
jolt that these theoretical bookworm strategists and tac- 
ticians — these exponents of the Art and Science of War 
— ever got was from our North American Indians — 
those wild Sioux, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Kiowa no- 

The Art and Science of War 53 

mads of the plains, the wiliest fighters the world ever 
saw — the finest light cavalry on this continent. No sol- 
diers ever understood the "Art of Fighting" better than 
they, or gave our best officers, who had made such gal- 
lant records during the Civil War, so many surprises 
and anxious moments, before they turned their atten- 
tion away from the tactics and strategy of their West 
Point days which they had attempted to try out on them, 
and gave heed to the vexed problems of Indian wars, to 
Indian methods and the practical, common-sense methods 
of fighting the wild fighters of the open with no books 
on military science or any fixed rules of warfare to 
guide them. 

Nobody ever heard of or ever saw Indians fighting 
in anything approaching our tactical formations, and 
yet they had their peculiar and seemingly studied lines 
of advance — fan-like at first — then winging out to the 
front, of retreat, extension of their flanks — either one 
at a time or both together — of shortening their lines, 
etc. — all this by flash signals and other signs — and it 
was always quite evident that they had plenty of good 
leadership, as was shown in all of their battles and, as 
has been stated, some of our theoretical soldiers in the 
old days knew this to their sorrow. Their strategy was 
that of the wild animals of the plains and forest — the 
mountain lion or cougar, the wild cat, the wolf, bear 
and buffalo — which would never move to the rear of a 
passing body of men, pack-train, wagons, or cars, be- 
cause to him it was an enemy. But whoever saw any 
better fighters? Who understood the "Art of Fighting" 
any better than these same wild and wily nomads of 
the plains? 

When Braddock, contrary to Washington's advice, 
attempted to march his men in column along a trail in- 
fested by hostile Indians, instead of deploying them to 
the right and left and adopting the Indian method of 
fighting — or tactics, if one chooses to give it that name 

54 The Art and Science of War 

— he was shamefully defeated ; he himself was killed ; 
many of his veteran soldiers massacred and the balance 
driven from the field. 

When Major Pitcairn and Earl Percy attempted to 
march their best trained British soldiers to Lexington 
and Concord in column along the road, the Minute men 
gathered — and untrained as they were, by deploying 
and scattering among the stone walls, fences, rocks and 
trees, those veteran troops were so harassed and sniped 
that they had to retreat in disorder and mortification for 
miles into Boston. What did the Indians who attacked 
Braddock know about tactics, or their use as we choose 
now to apply the term in modern warfare? What did 
those ''Minute Men" with their squirrel rifles, flintlock 
pistols, scythes, pitchforks, etc., know of tactics or the 
Art and Science of War? They would have laughed and 
jeered at the idea of a drill master preparing them for 
those fights, and yet when the Bedford men came into 
the salient made by the strong stone walls at "Mer- 
riam's Corner" on the flank of Earl Percy's veteran 
Peninsula redcoats — the strategy was complete, and 
the tactics, although missing, were all that were needed 
to make those British veterans look like thirty cents. 
It was all done with no knowledge of the "Art and Sci- 
ence of War," but a clear interpretation of the "Art of 
Fighting." It was said in England about this time by 
some writer that "the old system of tactics is out of 
place, nor could the capacity of the Americans be de- 
termined by any rule of war. They will long shun an 
open field; every thicket will be an ambuscade of par- 
tisans, every stone wall a hiding place for sharpshoot- 
ers; every swamp a fortress, the boundless woods an 
impracticable barrier." 

The Art and Science of War 55 

Too Much Training — Sham of Sham Battles 

After a certain period of training in camp, any more 
training for the men or study and book bunk for the offi- 
cers gets them nowhere, and wears on their nerves. 
What they need then is to be put into battle and under 
fighting leaders — field and line officers — who know the 
true "Art of Fighting," and to be given the real battle- 
sense and balance, without which the best troops in the 
world will "stall." Once well led in battle they will 
soon come into their own and take the pace, after which 
they will need no more battle training. 

A prolonged period in camp in being prepared, 
trained and drilled for battle — when war is imminent 
or has already been declared — without being given the 
opportunity to participate in one, simply impairs the 
morale, and dulls the fighting edge of the men, making 
it more difficult for their officers to maintain or restore 
the esprit de corps, to arouse the initiative, to animate 
them with any enthusiasm or to give them the true 
battle spirit. Nothing but cold, inclement weather, the 
need of shelter from rain, hail, sleet, snow — and im- 
passable condition of the roads should keep soldiers 
once trained and disciplined for battle long in camp. 
After they have once been in battle, all the instruction, 
intensive training, and — to them — distasteful tactical 
drills in the world will avail them nothing. It is sim- 
ply a waste of time and misspent energy. All they need 
then is to be kept hard and in good marching and fight- 
ing condition and be supplied with the best of line fight- 
ing leaders in whom they can implicitly trust in an 
emergency. The writer has always observed that 
nearly all failures on a battle-field came more from lack of 
leadership and a stupid, idiotic effort at tactical maneu- 
vers, than from any failure to make the ordinary stra- 
tegical or tactical movements and combinations planned 
in advance. When engaged in battle problems, 

56 The Art and Science of War 

training maneuvers and sham battles, if the latter 
seem necessary to their instructors, their officers 
should always give their men a talk on "The shams 
of sham battles," and always impress upon them the 
fact that while this sort of faking may be a factor with 
a certain element of value to men in training — and to 
officers whose commands have been limited to small 
units — many of these tactical and sham battle maneu- 
vers over certain terrain could never be executed in 
actual battle, and then give them the reasons, based 
upon sanity and common sense, instead of permitting 
them to remain in ignorance of the same, explaining to 
them in detail the whys and wherefores for such idiotic 
assumptions of power after the whirlpool of battle 
may have broken up all tactical formations and disorgan- 
ized the mathematical units to a point where they must be 
dependent on the line scrappers at any one particular 
place of battle contact. These are battle perceptions 
based upon practical experience. Such a talk would 
be particularly illuminating, and would, in the judg- 
ment of the writer, be not only the right kind of in- 
struction and of immense and lasting value to both offi- 
cers and men, but is the only kind of practical instruc- 
tion of real benefit in battle problems which is calcu- 
lated to teach them the utter impossibilities and fal- 
lacies, or false principles, and the wicked waste of 
time involved in many of such useless theoretical ma- 
neuvers and shams. 

When the lines approach or are about to come in 
contact (there were at least a dozen places at Gettys- 
burg from Culp's Hill to the Round Tops where they 
met in close combat), then all tactical commands are 
non-effective, practically useless even with the best 
disciplined army, and were never employed. It was a 
death grapple. It was the men's fight — then led by the 
fighting line officers — the leaders in every scrap of that 
nature — to give men heart and keep up their courage, 

The Art and Science of War 57 

and to pull them through to victory. No tactical or- 
ders could be heard in such a rough and tumble combat 
or a mix-up, and the units were too much broken up. 

This has always been a very difficult condition to ex- 
plain practically to the average student officer who has 
been fed up on — and is thinking of his tactics when he 
should go into a battle, or any action other than a sham 
encounter, and get into close quarters with an enemy. 
There are no tactics, son; the only thing then is to 
"butt in," using rifle, pistol, fists or anything else that 
might come handy (the Twentieth Maine used rocks in 
the gorge between the Round Tops) just as Sergeants 
York and Woodfill did, and simply show the world 
what kind of fighting stuff you are possessed of and 
how you can use the training and discipline with which 
you have been loaded for weeks, perhaps months in 
camp, to the best advantage, and what kind of mate- 
rial you are made of to command the fighters who have 
been placed in your care to handle. 

Any tactical formation or orderly advance of battle 
lines where the terrain is difficult for maneuvering, or 
over rough and difficult ground, through forests, or woods 
with tangled underbrush and chaparral, is practically 
impossible. The formations soon become broken up and 
lines disorganized and intermingled, especially in the 
face of an incessant and withering rifle and canister, 
shrapnel or machine-gun fire. Numerous instances of 
this lack of co-ordination under such conditions were 
shown during our Civil War, among them the at- 
tack on Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, Va., Decem- 
ber 13, 1862; Stonewall Jackson's attack on the Union 
right flank at Chancellorsville, Va., May 2, 1863; Pick- 
ett's charge at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863; Hancock's at- 
tacks on the Confederate Salient (McCool House), now 
termed in war literature the "Bloody Angle," at Spott- 
sylvania Court House, Va., May 12, 1864 — all to dem- 
onstrate the fallacy of attempting to closely adhere to 

58 The Art and Science of War 

tactical maneuvers during even the best organized and 
elaborately planned attacks along the front of an army. 

Just here is where the true leadership and best battle 
experience of our trained line officers come in. In sham 
battles there are no casualties, nobody is being killed 
or wounded, nobody is being knocked out of the ranks, 
the guides and file closers are able to keep in their 
proper places, the fours are intact, the lines are not be- 
ing disturbed or disarranged, — consequently the tact- 
ical formations based upon mathematical units can al- 
most always be fairly maintained in the advance and 
up to the moment of actual contact, or when the umpire 
announces his decison. 

It has always been a very great source of self-con- 
gratulation to the writer, and he is more than glad 
that he had the privilege — before going to West Point 
— of serving as a private soldier in a veteran fighting 
volunteer regiment during our great Civil War, and was 
in some of its greatest campaigns and battles. The 
value of that kind of service to any young man (the 
writer was a mere boy), though it was hard, with its al- 
most crushing grind of hardships, privations and sacri- 
fices, and almost like wading "through the valley of 
the shadow of death," — a veritable "bloody sweat" of 
battle — it was to place him near to the real thing — the 
real hell of battle, with all of its horrors, its everchang- 
ing phases and conditions, both in success and defeat, 
and all that which affects or tests out the true spirit 
and morale of the thoroughly trained and disciplined 
soldier, but particularly, the new soldier. He could, 
therefore, after entering the Military Academy, all the 
more readily grasp and measure up the theoretical end 
of war, its "Art and Science," as it was taught at West 
Point, and as it was given him by men who, although 
they had never been in battle, and had never seen one, 
had carefully read up on them, and in lessons and lec- 
tures strove to impress it upon us — we, who could "give 

The Art and Science of War 59 

them cards and spades" on the "Art of Fighting," or 
anything measured out by them from books written by 
authors who dwelt not on facts and the practical re- 
sults of battles, but upon the "ifs," "ands," "buts," 
"possibilities," "probabilities," and forced conclusions 
which governed them, so that they could fit into the 
theories of the "cut and dried" professional tactical 
and strategical know-it-all soldier. 

It has given the writer an opportunity of showing up 
or exposing some of these non-battle-bookworm-sol- 
diers' fallacies regarding the maneuvers and tactical 
combinations in a real wild-cat battle mix-up, and their 
student ideas on sham battles, tvar games, peace field 
maneuvers, etc., as a prelude to real battles where 
somebody is getting killed or wounded and tactical 
units are being disintegrated, destroyed and thus ren- 
dered useless. 

The only reason ever given to the writer for all of 
this never-ceasing, intensive training, in time of war, 
and to prepare men as soon as possible for quick and 
effective battle service, was by the late Colonel George 
H. Sands, who, as a member of the General Staff, War 
College division, prepared the camp schedules for in- 
struction at all training areas. 

He said that on account of insufficient transportation 
to get the men overseas soon enough, so that they could 
be assigned to the French and British training areas, 
it was thought necessary, in order to keep the men 
employed, to go over the same work day after day, even 
if it did involve much useless repetition. That was a 
logical reason. But many of the camp instructors always 
insisted that it was all necessary for their discipline 
and to better prepare them for battle. That was not a 
good or a logical reason but, on the contrary, it was mere 
bunk. It not only got those men nowhere, but it im- 
paired their morale, lessened their aggressiveness and 
weakened their mental and physical powers. Moreover 

60 The Art and Science of War 

they were never enlightened or told the real reason for 
all of this everlasting daily grind and repetition. Men 
are not dumb animals and if they are known to chafe 
because they do not understand the reasons therefor, 
they should be given the necessary information in order 
to stabilize them and secure a more ready and willing 
obedience to orders, without which most men, whenever 
they are treated like cattle, will only perform their duties 
in a listless and merely perfunctory manner. 

In this life we know but little at best and that little 
is not only altogether indefinite but generally uncertain 
in its application. The knowledge which we acquire is 
gained through opportunity, education, observation and 
practical experience. The first two are of little value 
without the third and none are of much value without 
the last. It is not quite certain that the first two are 
necessary or absolutely indispensable to the last, but if 
they are essential it is equally true that the last factor 
is absolutely necessary to make one's life useful to the 
world whether it be in the Arts and Sciences or in battle 
service in defense of one's flag and country. 

Any education or instruction without observation or 
the opportunity of developing or applying that knowl- 
edge practically, gets a soldier nowhere — one must fol- 
low the other. Few soldiers are opportunists. The more 
education he receives without practical experience the 
more of an unsafe guide does he become. It is hard for 
him to let go of his preconceived and oftentimes false 
notions. Any instruction in battle problems by an inex- 
perienced drill master, instructor or guide is apt to be 
false and misleading, and if based upon false premises 
or insufficient knowledge it may be fatal to a soldier's 
career unless, in the experience which necessarily follows 
that kind of training, he finds out for himself, before 
it might prove to be too late, and differentiates the right 
from the wrong. Such experience is generally very 
costly, and one of the most difficult problems and hardest 

The Art and Science of War 61 

tasks the new soldier has to encounter and overcome. 
The first battle may decide once and for all. It is the 
supreme test and to many an ambitious young general 
with a lack of battle knowledge and with little battle 
sense — no matter how brave he might be — such a test 
has either proved his making or his Waterloo — generally 
the latter. 

The principal aim of some of the young drill masters 
in the large training camps during the World War, who 
had not only never been in battle or had ever seen any- 
thing approaching one except a sham battle — and who, 
of course, knew nothing of battle conditions — was to fit 
the men tactically, and to a point approaching perfec- 
tion, for their work in France, regardless of whether 
that kind of training would fit into the game or not, and 
slurring over the essentials, such as perfection in the use 
of the rifle on the target range, or permitting it to become 
of second importance. 

Since the foregoing was written an announcement has 
been made through the press that the everlasting salute 
which the camp instructors so assiduously and labori- 
ously taught the men when the hysteria of the World 
War was at its height and which was carried to such 
a ridiculous farce in the Capital when the streets were 
crowded with embryo officers, is to be "canned" except 
under certain restrictions. Many of those officers before 
that period had scarcely ever known what a salute was 
or what it meant. How much time was wasted in teach- 
ing the men just how to carry their hands; how much 
"snap" and "pep" to put into this salute at every corner 
a hundred times a day. This, we old Civil War men 
were told, was to "discipline" them. The men were told 
it was for that purpose, and they all were wondering 
when and where they were to be taught the "Art of 
Fighting." Was it to be on the battlefield? The length 
of training had less to do with preparing them for the 
Art of Fighting than the kind of training they actually 

62 The Art and Science of War 

received. It also depended upon who trained them. Our 
men were trained long enough but they were overtrained 
— not instructed — by non battle-trained instructors for 
the most part, in the non-essentials and in mere tactical 
drill which made tactical mummies of them, and they 
were undertrained in the real essentials — the use of their 
weapons — and therefore were not fitted for fighters on 
the line. Under the first method they soon lost their indi- 
vidual initiative, sagged in and touched elbows with their 
comrades, bunched, and soon became fatal targets for 
concentrated machine gun fire which accounts largely for 
the fearful losses among men so trained. 

Gen. George H. Harries, a Brigadier General of the 
National Guard, recently told the men of the Military 
Order of the World War at Atlantic City that fifty per 
cent of our losses were because they had not been taught 
how to fight. How correct this percentage is the writer 
has no means of knowing, but he did see at both Fort 
Myer and Camp Meade the men being monotonously 
drilled in the manual of arms day after day by the count 
and marched with heavy, theoretical packs in tempera- 
tures varying from 100° to 109° — those men who, later, 
were put on a battle line with a perfect knowledge of 
these non-essentials but without ever having taken their 
rifles apart or assembled them, or ever having fired their 
pieces on a target range unless, perhaps, they were given 
condemned, slow-fire ammunition, which resulted in so 
many serious accidents among these astounded and, as 
yet, untried soldiers. 

Many a poor fellow came to understand what a poor 
asset all this "punch" and "pep" in the manual of arms, 
and salutes to the hundreds of officers whom he met on 
the streets, proved to be when he bumped up against 
a blithering rifle fire or a machine gun nest without a 
complete knowledge of his own weapons by which he 
might have made himself a self-reliant soldier and an 
efficient fighter when put to the test for quick battle 

The Art and Science of War 63 

service. Owing to some misunderstanding of just what 
General Harries did state and in answer to some com- 
ments and criticisms made thereon in the St. Louis 
Times of Friday, September 20, 1922, General Harries 
makes the following explanation, which is herein 
quoted in full in order to support and strengthen the 
writer's own positive and radical assertions as to the 
kind, quality and manner of training men for quick 
and effective battle siervice. 

(The St. Louis Times, Friday, October 13, 1922.) Stupidity 
Killed Many in War, Says Harries. Commander-in-Chief of Veter- 
ans' Association Defends His Words Against Criticism of The 
Times and Explains Statements. 

Chicago, Oct. 5, 1922. 

Editor, The Times: In your issue of September 20 I note an edi- 
torial which suggests that 1 give my authority for the statement 
that 50 per cent of the men killed in the late war were killed un- 
necessarily, because they did not know how to fight. 

My statement was that "not less than 50 per cent of those of 
ours who were killed in action or died of wounds were wastefully 
sacrificed because of inadequate training or no training at all." 
The minimum figures used have as their basis countless confer- 
ences with combat officers, of our own army and of the French 
and British forces, who commanded troops in action, and with 
other officers whose duty it was to observe; the service of all 
of whom was of such character that they might not righteously 
be accused of figure- juggling. 

As Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the World 
War it has been my pleasurable duty to address thousands of offi- 
cers during the past two years, and almost invariably making the 
statement you criticise. Hearers of my summing-up of testimony 
range from the platoon leaders, who personally led their men, up 
to and including General Pershing. Not even once was there sug- 
gestion that the averment was other than conservative. At 
times there was protest which declared my stated minimum to be 
too low. 

Regimental Head Reports 

In another instance, in the presence of hundreds of his fellow 
officers, a, highly capable regimental commander was statistically 
armed. His tale of disproportionate casualties was more nearly 
precise than those of other commanders, whose men suffered as 

64 The Art and Science of War 

his did, but whose observation quality was less keen than his own. 
His regiment had secured hardening experience during months 
of field training and battle experience in France. 

At 9 o'clock the night before an advance in the Argonne he re- 
ceived 400 replacements to fill his ranks to a war strength of ap- 
proximately 3,700. Then followed four busy hours while the half- 
baked or unbaked newcomers were being assigned to rifle, machine- 
gun and mopping-up units; as complete an amalgamation as 
available time would permit. With morning came the advance. 
Two days of hard fighting ensued, followed by a careful analysis 
of casualties. Eighty-one per cent of the regiment's killed and 
wounded were of the 400 comparatively untrained men who had 
joined 48 hours earlier. Is it necessary for me to say that only 
19 per cent of casualties occurred among the other 3,300 officers 
and men who had learned how to be successfully aggressive? 

Says Conditions are Common 

That such conditions were common is known of all men who 
had, by training, acquired soldierly facility and that degree of 
discipline which is essential in a sound military force — whether 
in war or in peace. 

Nor were such excessive casualties confined to the enlisted per- 
sonnel. Capable officers "went West" while endeavoring to correct 
the errors of the untried who were facing the enemies for the first 
time. Untrained officers departed by the same route because they 
had brought to the battle front little more than the book-learning 
memorized within the brief scholastic period of emergency educa- 
tion. Fine spirit there was in great abundance, but courage could 
not substitute for severe and prolonged instruction. Individual 
gallantry often lacked the support of "knowledge unto occasion 
at the first far view of death." 

The theory that officers — battle leaders — can be created in 
ninety days is as ridiculously deadly as was the William Jennings 
Bryan doctrine that in time of need 1,000,000 of our men would 
spring to arms overnight; even though they had never previously 
practiced springing. I recall the overnight high- jump of Mr. 
Bryan to a colonelcy in the war with Spain — an opera bouffe per- 
formance — and mere political appointment which amused both 
Spain and the United States, not to mention the military attaches 
of other powers who were watching us closely. 

How to Win Fights 

If patriotic or pugnacious or political enthusiasm alone should 
be held to denote efficiency, then baseball managers might do well 
to select their teams from the multitude of conspicuously-vocal 
"bleacher" patrons. 

The Art and Science of War 65 

Your "guess" that I believe "that not much bloodshed could en- 
sue in a combat where every soldier knew how to fight" scores a 
zero. The inference you draw lacks historical support. Our 
savage ancestors had great facility as fighters. They fought for 
survival and for a lot of other things they deemed desirable. 
The casualties suffered by the defeated army or tribe or detach- 
ment footed up 100 per cent. The crusty forefathers never left 
anything half done. Defeat generally meant death for the over- 
thrown combatants and slavery for their women and children. 

The French and English and Germans knew how to fight, yet 
there was great slaughter. But the carnage would have been in- 
finitely greater had they done as did the people — the Government 
— of our own land when we flung untrained troops "raw, into 
battle, as we plucked them, raw from the street." The French 
and German armies were composed of men who were excellently 
trained because military service was required of every citizen or 
subject; in France, a truly democratic procedure, whereby each 
man is fitted to do his part in the defense of his own country, the 
period of training being sometimes three years, sometimes two 
years. British replacements received full 12 months of intensive 
training by battle-taught instructors before being sent to the lines. 

French Aghast 

The French soldiers were aghast at our casualty lists. The 
British, less demonstrative, commented quietly and regretfully. 
Many enemy officers, with whom I conversed after the defeated 
armies had returned to Germany, praised the energy of our at- 
tacks, but asked: "Where was the individual technique? Great 
numbers of your soldiers perished because their unbridled spirit 
took them into situations where they could only be defeated. Mass 
formations — group attacks — in the face of machine gun fire could 
not possibly succeed." 

I could have told them, but did not, that the groups referred to 
were built up by soldiers who lacked discipline; who because of 
their greenness huddled together for that battle companionship 
which is the natural desire of men who have never learned to fight 
in extended order; who lacked that confidence in their right and 
left-hand comrades which comes only after months of arduous 
work on the drill field. Every company officer who fought in 
France, every stretcher-bearer, every member of a burial detail, 
could tell of men — wounded or dead — whose rifles had not been 
loaded; of others whose clips were full because they evidently did 
not know how to operate the bolt; of dead and dying men in testi- 
fying heaps. That the machine guns were captured, if not with- 

66 The Art and Science of War 

drawn, is beside the question. The point is that the captures cost 
excessively; reasonably skilled troops would have done the work 
without extravagant losses. 

Really, you concede the principle of my claim when you say: 
"Perhaps faulty ordnance or inaccurate gunfire destroys many 
men of that force. Probably unskillful handling of their com- 
mands by officers results in unnecessary casualties." 

Nation Held Responsible 

A nation that provides its army with faulty ordnance kills its 
soldiers "unnecessarily." A nation that waits until war breaks 
before starting to train the greater proportion of its officers, and 
thus puts most of its artillery in the hands of those who know not 
how to use it, must expect inaccurate gun-fire; the big guns can 
and did kill "unnecessarily.'' Unskillful troop leading is possible 
only to those who have been unable, in 90 days, to acquire the art 
of skillful leading; and there were thousands of such. Because 
they lacked skill, these killed "unnecessarily." 

A year's time is not too much for the making of an infantry 
soldier — a rifleman. A skilled officer, fit to be trusted with battle 
command, cannot be produced in thrice the time.* 

We entered the great war April 6, 1917. Twelve precious months 
flew by before our troop movement overseas amounted to anything 
in volume; a year crowded with evidence of our unreadiness and 
of our complete dependence upon the allies for many essential ser- 
vices. Half of that year flitted by before our division camps and 
cantonments were halfway fit for occupation; and when they were 
occupied it was by soldiers who, in large part, were illy-uniformed 
or clad in civilian garb. At night, in our own rich country, the 
draft recruits shivered in emergency and woolless blankets. Artil- 
lery men who had never seen a field piece sought to solve ballistic 
problems with the aid of dummy two-by-four bare-lumber any- 
things; the Congress having ignored for many years the pleadings 
of a far-seeing Chief of Ordnance. Except for a few samples in 
Washington, there wasn't a hand-grenade in the country. 

We were well on our way to a lot of "unnecessary" killing; 
some of it being quite thoroughly accomplished in our home camps. 

*The author does not agree with General Harries' statement 
that "A year's time is not too much for the making of an infantry 
soldier," unless he means that this "making" is to be done by in- 
experienced officers. With battle-taught officers, and with war al- 
ready on, and no time to waste, if that officer does not neglect his 
duty — cuts out all non-essentials — and works hard, he ought 
to have that soldier on an infantry battle line in much less time. 

The Art and Science of War 67 

Army and Guard Good 

The trained personnel of our regular army and National Guard 
wrought mightily in spite of the limitations long imposed upon 
them by our national legislatures, but even they were not ac- 
customed to dealing with tidal waves. For three years they had 
urged and protested, and when the belated hour for action arrived 
the odds were tremendously against them. But they turned-to 
with a will, improvised much and salvaged many a life by their 
industry as instructors; yet not until the first anniversary of our 
entry into the war did the Eastward flow of divisions really start. 

The reason why these unnecessary sacrifices are now being 
stressed is that our people shall speedily realize that what they 
so commonly call "the cost of war'' is really the cost of unpre- 
paredness. For 146 years we have been nationally heedless in 
this highly important matter. 

During the War of the Revolution, Gen. Nathanael Greene said 
(I cannot quote him precisely because my library is not now avail- 
able) that a nation which sent its sons to battle without first train- 
ing them to the use of arms, was guilty of murder. That state- 
ment, and a succession of like utterances throughout a century of 
our history, is contained in Maj. Gen. Emory Upton's illuminating 
treatise on our military policy; a publication that should be read 
by every understanding man and woman in the United States. 

Since the day of General Upton we have run true to our ancient 
form. So far as the public and most of their official servants — or 
leaders — are concerned, we have learned nothing. Each succeed- 
ing war has found us lamentably unready. And we have paid 
enormously more in blood and golden treasure than we would have 
done had we been economically wise and commonly humane. We 
have spent lavishly to defeat alien enemies. Temporarily, we have 
saved a few dollars through ill-timed pacifistic folly and, as direct 
consequences of that enduring short-sightedness, we have squan- 
dered prodigally the lives of our really worthwhile men. Reck- 
lessly have we slain our own. Ruthlessly have we multiplied wid- 
ows and orphans. 

Expects Proof in Statistics 

Precise figures such as you demand are not yet available, but I 
am sure that when the tabulations do appear they will more than 
confirm my casualty statement. Long before any official statistics 
can be compiled I expect to have a great amount of direct testi- 
mony from combat officers of all grades. The fathers and mothers 
shall know what losses they may expect to suffer when war comes. 

68 The Art and Science of War 

while we are still bent upon a supineness which must inevitably 
result in unnecessary destruction of our own. 


It has all led up to the reluctant conclusion that any 
field commander, whether he is a Battalion, Regimental, 
Brigade, Division, Corps, or Army, who has never been 
under fire or never seen a battle — no matter how excep- 
tionally efficient or able he may have been as a military 
student or drill instructor, is practically worthless to 
command those units on the assumption that his theoreti- 
cal knowledge is absolutely correct as a decisive factor 
in handling those troops under battle conditions. Any 
view from the rear is misleading and erroneous — text- 
books are worthless. Close contact as a soldier is not 
only essential as a guide but absolutely necessary as a 
teacher. No observer at the rear not under fire can pos- 
sibly gain so intelligent a conception of how a battle is 
going, or what a battle means with all its changing con- 
ditions, as the man on the line in the mixup, subjected 
to the hell of fire, death and destruction going on all 
about him. All the observer's preconceived theoretical 
knowledge and plans of battle are at once disturbed if 
not entirely broken up by the inextricable confusion, 
roar and din he sees before and around him; and after 
all his years of book study, essay writing, map making, 
tactical drill, sham battles, war maneuvers, and umpir- 
ing, he generally is compelled to fall back on his sound, 
common sense if he has not parted with it, and change 
in an instant all his student ideas of battle. There is no 
time to lose; he must act instantly or he is gone. "An 
army of sheep commanded by lions is better than an 
army of lions commanded by sheep." This is an old 
but apt saying when applied to the game of war. 

The Art and Science of War 69 

Confusion, Noise, Uproar and Terror in Battle; Their 
Effect Upon the Senses 

There are many unlooked for and unexpected phases 
of battle that always seem to have been overlooked or 
never considered in the cut and dried plans by officers 
in their zeal to fit men tactically for such an ordeal, and 
by the men themselves who have never been under fire. 
Among these phases are the confusion, noises, uproar 
and terror seen and heard for the first time, perhaps, all 
of which have, it will be found, a most important bear- 
ing upon their morale and stability. Until these factors 
are encountered they are but little understood in deter- 
mining their own and the men's behavior when going 
into action. This is one of the most important things 
that should be called to the attention of the newly en- 
listed men, and it can only be done by careful personal 
instruction and practical talks and not by intensive 
drills, nor can it be fully taught by the noise and racket 
of sham battle. Too much emphasis cannot be laid on 
this. While he is diligently learning the salute, the man- 
ual of arms by the number, and "squads right" and 
"squads left," day after day in the training camp, attain- 
ing that perfection in the tactical drills which seem to 
be considered so absolutely essential by the average camp 
instructor in the real battlefield fighting for which the 
recruit or "rooky" is being prepared; the confusion, 
noises, din and terror which he will so suddenly and un- 
expectedly have to contend with when coming in con- 
tact with a real enemy — and of which he can know abso- 
lutely nothing — are, after all, among the most important 
factors to be considered. This should be frequently im- 
pressed upon him. It is seldom or never done. 

To disabuse his mind in advance of all these disturb- 
ing noises and terrors that always attend, and which 
are necessarily a feature of every battle — but sometimes 
are used as a species of propaganda or camouflage of 

70 The Art and Science of War 

the real thing for the purpose of inspiring fear in the 
hearts of the uninitiated — it should become necessary and 
a part of the duty of camp instructors to eliminate as 
far as may be possible; in fact it is absolutely essential 
to a man's success as a fighter that the effect of noise 
upon the senses should be reduced to a minimum as a 
most powerful agent or contributing factor in impairing 
the morale of new men when the real shock of battle 

Noise never won a battle; it never kills, but it is one 
of the hardest things for an inexperienced soldier just 
going into battle to disregard, to set it aside or get 
rid of the sudden and alarming effect of noise and uproar 
upon his senses. As a disturbing cause and moral de- 
pressent it will generally produce as much confusion and 
terror in his heart as stage fright upon a speaker when 
making his maiden speech or an actor when making his 
debut upon the stage. The impulse to stampede and to 
get away from this terrible noise, turmoil and deadly 
risk of battle is at first almost irresistible, and often 
uncontrollable. This utter demoralization on a battle- 
field by raw, inexperienced men was fully illustrated 
at the First Bull Run. The men were nearly all militia; 
they had had their surfeit of the manual of arms, and 
Scott's and Hardee's Tactics; plenty of barrack drill 
and maneuvers on a "Muster Field" — "ad nauseam" — 
but there was nobody to tell these overdrilled and tired 
men — except a very few Mexican war soldiers, of the 
noises and terror of a battle and, once thrown into a 
panic, they fled from the field like a herd of cattle. A 
little later these same men coming back in the three- 
year regiments and under good, competent officers, and 
realizing after all what little damage was really being 
done, redeemed themselves ; made light of the noises 
which had stampeded them before, and proved to be 
among the most efficient and bravest soldiers we had. 
Their officers had been green and nobody had taken any 

The Art and Science of War 71 

pains to explain or to instruct them as to what a real 
battle with its uproar and confusion meant. The whole 
mess was due to lack of 'practical instruction and not to 
lack of tactical drills. 

The Chinese used this noise when beating their loud 
drums and gongs to confuse and terrorize their enemy. 
The savages used it when beating the tom-tom and utter- 
ing their high-keyed, shrill, ear-splitting yells, whoops 
and screeches. The Confederate used it during the Civil 
War when advancing their lines to the accompaniment 
of the "Rebel Yell," and for the same purpose, to strike 
terror in the hearts of the enemy. The Germans used 
all sorts of noises in the late World War. The incessant 
booming of guns and explosion of projectiles, with their 
deafening roar, resulted in producing a moral effect 
rather than in any damage or loss of life from their fire, 
since our casualties from artillery fire during the entire 
Civil War were less than one per cent. And yet, strange 
to note, all of the drum and tom-tom beating, this yell- 
ing, screeching, ear-splitting and ,hoisy exhibition of 
courage by white and savage enemies alike, has a most 
terrifying, disheartening and demoralizing effect upon 
the new, raw, inexperienced soldier just entering upon 
his first battle — which the highly trained battle service 
line officer, with all of his morale and discipline intact, 
sometimes found it most difficult to repress, restrain or 
even to wholly control. The reason for all this is alto- 
gether hard to account for. Moral or physical cowardice 
— sometimes both — has been given as a cause. It may 
be entirely psychological. But, that it is a fact, and 
within the experience of many officers, cannot be dis- 
puted. Hence it becomes highly important; in fact it 
is absolutely necessary to eradicate or eliminate this 
human defect — for defect it is — from among any body 
of soldiers who are under training for battle, and at 
the start. Unless this is done one can never be wholly 
sure of even good men. The writer has seen on numer- 

72 The Art and Science of War 

ous occasions this effect of battle noise prove to be a 
veritable bete noir, and sometimes what might have 
proved to be a dangerous drawback to some men's morale 
and battle stability — not only the first time, but after- 
wards, or whenever they might advance in a battle line, 
unless meanwhile these same men may have become 
steady under fire. Sometimes, but not often, it proved 
permanent and incurable. It is the writer's belief that 
most men can be permanently cured by a sane talk be- 
fore they are to be pushed into battle. "An ounce of 
prevention is worth a pound of cure." It seldom becomes 
a case of "cold feet" or cowardice — if taken in time. 
There is but little doubt, however, in the mind of the 
writer that many cases of so-called "shell shock" which 
occurred during the late World War, were nothing more 
nor less than "cold feet," inspired by the noise, confusion, 
uproar, and terror of suddenly being thrust into battle 
without having any previous intimation or knowledge 
of what its effect would be upon the senses — really the 
neglect of the drill instructor to instruct. Their morale 
was entirely destroyed. A little later, or in some subse- 
quent battle, this same man could not be persuaded to 
quit the line. Once assured of the harmlessness of this 
kind of fighting, and this noise about him, he has become 
the reliable, trustworthy fighter which he might have 
been at first had there been an instructor competent to 
give him some reliable information on this point instead 
of so much tactical drill having been hammered into his 
brain which, later, he found he could not use. This sort 
of training is what the writer calls acquiring the battle 
sense or fighting balance, so necessary in teaching men 
who have the making of fine soldiers, the true "Art of 
Fighting." And it is a factor entirely apart from mere 
tactical drill or the "Art and Science of War." All of 
which leads to the conclusion that much time that is 
wasted in the non-essentials, and in tiring men by ever- 
lastingly pounding tactical drill into their heads day after 

The Art and Science of War 73 

day to make him a perfectly drilled man, could be better 
employed in practical talks that would fit the men for 
actual battle which really is not only the crucial test but 
the true object of military training. 

The writer has been on a target range where skilled 
marksmen have been competing for high scores and the 
much coveted medals which are awarded for the same, 
and has been requested not to talk for fear of disturbing 
the contestants. In view of what these men would have 
to face in the way of noise in battle, to a battle-service 
soldier such a request brings a smile to the face. 

It should be remembered that in actual battle the 
noise, din and uproar is so great that loud talking, or 
even the shouting of a command could not be heard 
even at a distance of a few feet. It is the writer's be- 
lief, therefore, that all sharpshooters, when battle effi- 
ciency is to be expected or attained, should be trained 
on the range under conditions approaching as closely 
as possible, or simulating those of real battle, with guns 
firing across the line, with projectiles exploding over 
the same, accompanied, if possible, by rifle and ma- 
chine gun fire — with blank cartridges — this to steady 
the nerves, and as a real test of the ability to work un- 
der battle fire. This, it is believed, has seldom if ever 
been done. Not only that but they should be trained 
under all phases of weather, such as rain, hail, sleet 
and snow, for they are not going to lie under a shed 
and shielded from the sun in hot weather — as the writer 
saw at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1913 — nor by the side of 
a fire in cold weather. All this will not only test their 
mental and physical resources and powers of endur- 
ance, but their steadiness of nerves and ability to oper- 
ate in the face of a real alert and skillful enemy under 
the conditions always to be found on a battleline front. 

Too much stress has always been laid upon making 
scores for a record. If their nerves are not steady when 
people should happen to talk near the range, what in 

74 The Art and Science of War 

the name of common sense could they expect to do or 
what kind of a record could they expect to make when 
lying prone on the ground in a rain or snow storm 
under a heavy rifle and shrapnel fire from an active en- 
emy, and from his concealed sharpshooters? They 
could not have hit a flock of flying barns. The writer 
saw both regiments of Berdan's Sharpshooters try to 
dislodge the Third Arkansas Confederate Infantry of 
the Texas Brigade, Hood's Division, Longstreet's Corps, 
from the "Devil's Den," all of July 3, 1863, at Gettys- 
burg — both under perfect cover — without making the 
slightest impression on them, and yet every man in Ber- 
dan's command had been tried out on a target range 
before enlistment. 

What is needed in our training camps is less of the 
drill sergeant in attempting to perfect men in mere 
tactical drill, (all that is necessary to put men into 
battle and take them out can be learned in a surpris- 
ingly short period) and more practical talks and prac- 
tical instruction in the thousand and one things so ne- 
cessary for a soldier to know on the march, in camp, 
on campaigns preceding battles — all by competent 
(and by competent is meant experienced) officers on 
practical battle problems and actual battle conditions 
on a battleline — so that they can be put into battle 
without their morale being shot to pieces before they 
actually begin to fight. Then we can be sure that we 
have got a real bunch of fighters, and not a nerve- 
racked, demoralized, disorganized line of men who 
have got their minds so intently fixed on the noise and 
din that all of their training has gone for naught, and 
their fighting sense frozen out of them. Unless they 
have exceptionally good-fighting line officers and fine 
leadership, such men soon become as helpless as chil- 
dren — oftentimes seized with panic, and a stampeded 
herd of buffalo or cattle, or a caviard of horses is as 
nothing compared to a fear-crazed mob of men under 

The Art and Science of War 75 

fire. If this seems to be an overdrawn picture, the 
reader is referred to the stampede of the Eleventh 
Corps at the battle of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, 
and the condition of Pickett's men at the "Bloody 
Angle" at Gettysburg after being shot up with rifle fire 
and canister on their front and a perfect blizzard on 
both flanks, all of which the writer saw. These men 
were, however, not even green men, but were expe- 
rienced veterans of many battles. The illustration is 
offered to show how even trained men may be thrown 
into confusion and disorder by the noise, din and up- 
roar of battle all about them, and the difficulty, almost 
impossibility, of maintaining tactical formations in the 
swirl and mix-up of a close contact and actual combat 
such as occurred on both of those battlefields and to an 
extent greater, perhaps, than on any other fields of the 
Civil War. 

Little Generalship Displayed 

There was little generalship on the fields of battle 
in which the writer was engaged. If Halleck, in his ef- 
forts to direct battles from Washington in the field by 
telegraph and long winded, verbose and tardy orders, 
ever displayed any generalship nobody has ever dis- 
covered it in the long interval that has elapsed since 
the Civil War. 

If McClellan, Burnside, or Hooker ever showed any, 
even if they were on the ground and were supposed to 
have a leadpipe cinch on the problems confronting 
them — the former even having had Lee's plan of opera- 
tions at Antietam placed in his hands — nobody has ever 
found it out. There was little or no strategy, few, if 
any, tactical maneuvers, because, as has been shown, it 
was a physical impossibility to exercise any when the 
tactical or mathematical units had been either so de- 
stroyed or mixed up and disintegrated as to make it im- 

76 The Art and Science of War 

practicable in a wild-cat melee to reform commands. 
All this, as has already been cited, was most forcibly 
illustrated in the tangled thickets of the Wilderness, and 
in the woods about Spottsylvania C. H. where no tact- 
ical formations could be maintained for even five min- 
utes at a time ; but the lines held together and co-ordi- 
nated for fighting purposes through the almost super- 
human efforts of the battle-trained line officers and the 
unimpaired morale and fighting spirit of the men — the 
same spirit which inspired Sergeants York and Wood- 
fill in their magnificent achievements. The great bat- 
tles were generally the men's battles ; won by the deliber- 
ate, obstinate and desperate fighting qualities of the men 
in the ranks, provided their discipline and morale had not 
already been impaired or wholly destroyed through 
lack of generalship, or the weakness, indecision and 
rank cowardice of their immediate commanders — those 
officers who, in a crisis, should be their staunch and in- 
trepid leaders. While declaring this, the writer does 
not wish it to be understood that there was no leader- 
ship. There was plenty, and of the right kind, and 
nearly all of the successes on either side can be at- 
tributed to these fine qualities among the magnificent 
field and line officers of brigades, regiments and com- 
panies — the men with fighting guts and the spirit of 
no defeat. There is as much difference between medi- 
ocre, book-worm, theoretical generalship and real lead- 
ership as there is between the "Art and Science of 
War" and the "Art of Fighting," or between a small 
windmill and a large dynamo which generates the elec- 
trical current with its wonderful power. Many a heroic 
act of some fighter along an extended line — as at 
Gettysburg — has gone down unrecorded except among 
the survivors of those bloody fields, which perhaps de- 
cided the contest at that particular point, if not, indeed, 
the battle itself. 

The Art and Science of War 77 

In the first place — and this is where the non-fighting 
or theoretical book soldier fails in his knowledge or 
even conceptions of battle conditions — in the uproar 
and confusion of a big fight no tactical commands could 
be heard, and if heard they were rarely understood — 
and if not understood and incapable of being executed 
for that and other reasons already given, of what use 
could they possibly be — and this is just where the 
leader and not the tactician came in, and is where his 
power was felt — that was just where common sense acts, 
not the tactical maneuvers, of Sergeants Alvin York 
and Woodfill became so effective after they were left 
to their own initiative, resources and skill as fighters. 
So far as the writer can learn, they had become sepa- 
rated entirely from their officers and were acting un- 
der the command or direction of nobody. A Hungar- 
ian officer applied the following remark of Napoleon 
at Lodi, "He knows nothing of the regular rules of war; 
he is sometimes in front, sometimes on our flank, some- 
times in the rear. There is no supporting such gross 
violations of rules." 

And so it might be said of any fighting soldier who 
knows the "Art of Fighting" and but little of the "Art 
and Science of War." 

It then comes down to leadership pure and simple, 
and nothing more or less than that kind of leadership 
which we had in our boyhood days. That kind which 
never has been, and never will be taught from any 
books that ever were or will be written. It is possessed 
by few, especially by those who have stuck closely to 
the many textbooks written on the Art and Science of 
War and on carefully formulated plans of campaigns 
and battles. It can be cultivated, but it has got to be 
carefully studied as a trait or quality entirely apart from 
the whole subject of the theory and "art and science of 
war," and entirely in connection with the "Art of 

78 The Art and Science of War 

Fighting Revolves About Leaders and "Scrappers" 

When all generalship seems to have failed on a field 
of battle and the fight has drifted away and is no longer 
under their — the corps, division and brigade commanders 
— eyes, then it is that the "Art of Fighting" steps in to 
take its place, and the real fighting sense of the men as- 
sumes its true value under the competent leadership of 
real fighting line officers. They are the real bullies, such 
as we saw in our desperate snow battles of seventy years 
ago in the old town by the sea on "Tar Bucket Night." 
The fighting always revolved or centered about them, 
and not around any regimental, brigade, division or 
corps commander after he had lost his tactical forma- 
tions and directions — and the battle had assumed a more 
or less chaotic state, forcing him to rely in the end on 
the discipline, morale and leadership of his rank and file. 
These pages could be filled with examples. A concrete 
example of this was seen on the battlefield of Chicka- 
mauga when General Thomas rallied the fighting rem- 
nants of Rosecrans' army on Snodgrass Hill. It is re- 
lated of the battle of Gettysburg that Lieutenant L. E. 
Bicknell of the First Company of Andrews Massachu- 
setts sharpshooters, who had but twenty of his men with 
him — by direction of General Hayes, commanding the 
Third Division, Second Corps — gathered parts of several 
regiments which had become partially disorganized by 
the Confederate cannonade that had been concentrated 
upon Ziegler's Grove; he formed them in line. They 
were drilled a few minutes in oblique firing ; he advanced 
from the grove, wheeled them to the left up to the fence 
on the north side of Bryan's Lane, which ran west to 
the Emmettsburg Road, and when Pettigrew's columns 
supporting Pickett's charge were passing along the south 
side of the lane and crowding through it, he, with the 
cooperation of the Eighth Ohio Infantry, which had 
wheeled in to his right across the Emmittsburg Road, 

The Art and Science of War 79 

opened a deadly fire upon their left flank which made 
them sag off to their right against Hayes' Division 
(Third) of the Second Corps. Then, drawing back his 
line, thus uncovering the section of a battery at Bryan's 
house, he allowed these guns to sweep the lane and Petti- 
grew's flanks, which practically drove him (the latter) 
from the field and won the battle at that end of the line. 
That was the fighting spirit of a young volunteer lieuten- 
ant. General Longstreet wrote him a letter in 1884 which 
corroborates Bicknell's own statement, in which he 
credits Bicknell with performing an act at a critical 
moment which contributed largely to the defeat of 
Pickett's supports on that flank, and he adds: "The 
breaking up of the supporting force broke up the attack 
or hope of success from it. We could not look for any- 
thing from Pickett except to break your line. The sup- 
ports (Pettigrew, Trimble, Wilcox and Perry) id ere to 
secure the fruits of that break." 

Two Peerless Fighters at Fredericksburg and 

The writer's captain, during the Civil War in the 
Twenty-Second Mass. Vol. Inf., was Joseph H. Baxter, 
a cigar maker, of Cambridge, Mass., and the first lieu- 
tenant was Charles D. Knowles of Haverhill, Mass., a 
shoe cutter, but a man of considerable education. We 
spoke of them, but not to them, as "Joe" and "Charlie." 
Both were mortally wounded and died of their wounds 
in a few hours — one at Cold Harbor (Bethesda Church), 
the other at "The Loop" — dying in Henry Spangler's 
barnyard on the Baltimore Pike at Gettysburg. Both 
knew the "Art of Fighting," and while neither objected 
to being called by their Christian names, nor to bivouack- 
ing and messing from our haversacks or drinking from 
our canteens on the march, in event that their blankets 
and rations did not come up by dark on the pack mules 

80 The Art and Science of War 

or in the wagons — no familiarity was permitted, and 
proper discipline and the fighting morale was always 
maintained. We were sometimes addressed as "Bob," 
"John," "Bill," etc., and frequently on a battle line and 
under a heavy fire they would from the rear (line of 
file closers) shout: "Stick to 'em, Johnny!" "Give 'em 
h — 1, Bob !" etc. No one could slap them on the back or 
perpetrate any jokes at their expense. Both were short 
and stocky — one (Knowles) with sandy hair and mous- 
tache, with steel blue eyes and bulldog chin, the other 
(Baxter) with curly chestnut hair, moustache and goatee, 
and deep-set blue eyes and heavy, square, fighting jaw. 

At Fredericksburg, two hundred yards from the 
"Sunken Road" at the foot of Marye's Heights, the 
writer's rifle, after about 60 rounds, became so hot and 
foul that the rammer jammed. A sudden impulse seized 
him, and he fired rammer and all into a mass of forms 
showing through the battle smoke, and then looked back- 
ward with a mute appeal for help. Baxter shouted 
above the din, "What is the matter, Bob?" The useless 
rifle was raised. Quick as lightning came the command 
to the first sergeant, "Quick, Charlie, pass Bob another 
rifle!" A new Springfield, picked up from among the 
dead of the 12th R. I., Ferrero's Brigade, Sturgis' Divi- 
sion, Ninth Corps, among whose dead and dying we 
were then fighting, was rapidly passed over the heads 
into the front rank, and the firing was instantly resumed 
with no other comments. But the bellowing notes of 
Baxter, our fighting captain, could be heard above the 
uproar. "Give it to 'em!" "Fire slow and low!" That's 
the time you got 'em !" "Shoot the h — 1 out of 'em !" etc. 
All of that bitter cold night we lay among the stark 
dead and the moaning, shrieking, imploring wounded 
with no first aid packets or stations; no emergency, 
evacuation or base hospitals, and not an ambulance or 
stretcher bearer could approach the battle-line from the 
direction of the town, every inch of ground being "cov- 

The Art and Science of War 81 

ered as with a fine tooth comb" as thus described by 
Gen. D. H. Hill when requested by General Lee to report 
the condition of the defences on his front. 

There could be no advance or retreat from this posi- 
tion, and there was no head cover or breastworks except 
the stiff, half -frozen corpses all about us, which we soon 
utilized as there were no intrenching tools available. We 
had no food except a little cracker dust in the bottom 
of our haversacks, and there were no "rolling kitchens." 

From dawn until night closed in again the next day, 
or, for sixteen long, weary hours we lay under a constant 
withering rifle and plunging shrapnel and canister fire 
from the heights, being able to move only from one side 
to the other or on our backs to avoid exposing our heads, 
the bodies of both the dead in front of and the wounded 
around us being struck again and again, until they had 
lost all semblance to the human form. 

When finally relieved at 8 o'clock there was no "rest 
area," merely a cold, cheerless bivouac on the frozen 
ground, and without camp fires, on the banks of the dark 
river full of floating ice. 

Throughout this almost appalling situation these peer- 
less fighting volunteer leaders, these matchless fighters, 
never gave signs of weakening. Knowles roused the 
living survivors from the blanketed dead, issued car- 
tridges to renew the contest, and Baxter, in the quicken- 
ing gray of that terrible morning, moved the company 
through the cold mist and battle smoke a few yards for- 
ward on the line, and the noise, uproar and din began 
again, never to cease until another night with its chilling 
darkness and gloom shut down. Their voices were 
strong, firm, cheerful and always inspiring. Never for 
a moment did they show the young boys under their 
command that their courage was waning or flagging; 
that their spirits were wavering or drooping, or their 
morale was other than that of the perfect battle-trained 
and disciplined soldiers that they were then and were 
ever after — on the march, in bivouac and in battle up 

82 The Art and Science of War 

to the moment when their souls went on to meet their 
Maker on the fields of Gettysburg and Cold Harbor. 

What was Burnside doing during these hours of un- 
certainty, of doubt, gloom and unnecessary slaughter 
of our brave fighters? He was milling around with no 
well-defined plan for extricating himself from his peril- 
ous dilemma, but engaged in formulating a vague, fool 
scheme for another desperate assault upon the "Stone 
Wall" and "Marye's Heights," and menaced by Lee, who 
might have opened fire upon our closely huddled up 
masses, only being deterred from doing so out of consid- 
eration for the inhabitants of the town who were to 
come back and occupy its shell-torn houses, and firm in 
the belief that the enemy would sooner or later be com- 
pelled to evacuate. Burnside was only dissuaded from 
his rash project through the plea of one of his old Zouave 
colonels (Colonel Rush Hawkins) after we had been 
ordered into another all-night battle-line in the main 
street with the assault to take place at daybreak. 

Burnside lacked the even balance and good judgment 
of a wise, sane and safe fighter. 

Knowles was hit directly behind the boulder in the 
"Loop" at Gettysburg, on which was placed many years 
ago the handsome monument of the "Henry Wilson Regi- 
ment" (Twenty-Second Massachusetts Volunteer Infan- 
try), falling behind the writer just as he was shouting 
his last words of encouragement to the men in that 
death-strewn spot. He died as he had lived — the brave, 
uncomplaining, clear-eyed, clean-minded type of men 
who, while they studied grand strategy and tactics but 
little if at all, were the true exponents of those officers 
who won the battles of that war, bcause they fully under- 
stood the real "Art of Fighting," and had the ability to 
impart — not tactically but morally — that fighting spirit 
to the men under them and to hold them to their work 
in a crisis when under fire. 

The Art and Science of War 83 

While they were not book-fed or theoretical soldiers 
they could get the best of results from, and the loyal 
cooperation of, their men, who were attached to them 
because they had real faith in them. No braver men, 
who knew and placed at its true value the real art of 
fighting, ever went into battle than "Joe" Baxter and 
"Charlie" Knowles, our peerless volunteer leaders of the 
Civil War. They had the genuine fighting guts and 
spirit, and were in every respect typical fighters of the 
old Army of the Potomac. All honor to their dauntless 
souls. Peace to their ashes ! And there were thousands 
more like them and many other grim fighters and gallant 
spirits who knew the true "Art of Fighting" in that 
veteran volunteer regiment ; among them Captain "Ben" 
Davis and Sergeant "Andy" Wilson, who captured the 
battle-flag of the Sixth Alabama Infantry, Battle's Bri- 
gade, Rode's Division, Early's Corps, in a midnight, 
hand-to-hand combat in the woods at Spottsylvania Court 
House ("Laurel Hill") May 8, 1864. They were a mile 
or more away from the main command and the eyes of 
their field officers, and upon emerging from the forest 
at daybreak, on the 9th and gaining the Brock Road 
near where Gen. Sedgwick fell, both were killed, one 
within a few hours that same day ; the other on the 10th 
near Alsop's Farm. The splendid initiative and morale 
of such magnificent fighters can never fade from his- 
tory's pages. 

No monumental inscription or vaunting epitaph could 
add to the glory of such gallant fighting spirits so long 
ago hushed in death on those historic battlefields. 

Lee's Failure and Jackson's Stupendous Success Due 

to Battle Psychology, and Not to Any Art 

and Science of War 

In no battle of the Civil War did Robert E. Lee com- 
mit such a fatal blunder — the most charitable construc- 
tion that one can place upon such an act — as when he, 

84 The Art and Science of War 

trying to adhere closely to the Art and Science of War, 
issued the order for Pickett to attack, with supporting 
units, the Union center at Gettysburg, instead of taking 
General Longstreet's advice to try and turn the Union 
left flank, interpose between Meade and both Washing- 
ton and Baltimore, in an effort to compel Meade to make 
an offensive attack on him instead of remaining in a 
defensive position, which he (Meade) had selected. Long- 
street knew the Art of Fighting and his keen battle sense 
saw at once the futility of such an assault, after the 
Union right and left had been firmly secured, and there 
remained open to Lee what he believed was his only 
alternative — an attack upon a strongly held center. He 
had no more chance for success than did Burnside when 
he made his fatal attack at Fredericksburg in an effort 
to carry Marye's Heights in rear of that city in the face 
of such insurmountable obstacles and a perfectly devised 
plan of defense. 

In no battle of the Civil War did Jackson so grossly 
violate every principle taught in the Art and Science 
of War as at Chancellorsville when, after a long, gruel- 
ing march, by which he separated himself from Lee by 
at least twelve miles, he made his famous attack upon 
the right flank of the Union Army near "Wilderness 
Tavern." But Jackson did not drink whisky; was a 
sober man, and withal he was a fighter and knew the 
"Art of Fighting." It was the craziest move ever under- 
taken in the face of a powerful army and after the battle 
was on. Such a move never had the remotest chance 
of success except in the event of his opponent being 
paralyzed, or inert and helpless from causes not then 
known but which have become well known since. It is 
most amazing that a general like Lee, with a cool, cal- 
culating judgment, perfect poise, and correct balance 
in battle should have ever permitted such a foolhardy 
maneuver to be set on foot by one of his corps 

The Art and Science of War 85 

It is possible, however, that both Lee and Jackson may 
have known that Hooker had been drinking hard all 
that winter and was unfit to command so large an army 
in the field. At least they must have judged, and judged 
rightly, that something was the matter with him 
(Hooker) when, having initiated his move against Jack- 
son's Corps on the Fredericksburg Turnpike on Friday, 
May 1, to get into open country for an offensive battle, 
and had successfully pushed him back, he suddenly issued 
an order to regain his original lines, and not only lost 
the fruits of such an advance but his initiative and all 
hope of again recovering the ground thus so mysteriously 
abandoned. Jackson's Corps became, however, a tactical 
wreck in the woods after driving back the 11th Corps 
and was so mixed up and disorganized the next morn- 
ing that "Jeb" Stuart, who was designated by Lee — A. P. 
Hill being wounded — to temporarily succeed Jackson, 
after the latter was mortally wounded, took several hours 
to reorganize it on Sunday morning, May 3, and put in 
a condition so that it could advance upon the Union lines 
at "Fairview" near the Chancellor House, with any hope 
of success. Jackson never could or should have succeeded 
in such a crazy move had "Fighting Joe" Hooker not 
been filled up with "booze" or in a condition which was 
the effect of "boozing," and any statement that he 
(Jackson) could have passed his inextricably mixed up 
and disorganized corps that night along the narrow wood 
road leading from the Orange Plank Road to the rear 
of the Union position near Mineral Springs — as believed 
by some military authors — is not only mere conjecture 
but all moonshine based upon what Jackson wanted to 
do. There were 30,000 men of the First and Fifth Corps 
across that road almost all of that night, looking for 
Jackson to deploy his corps in such a narrow space, and 
before he could possibly have had time to disentangle it 
and march it to that point. It was out of the fight for at 
least that night. The military student has only to go 

86 The Art and Science of War 

to that point and see for himself and go afoot and not 
in an automobile — and with somebody who knows the 
battlefield — and not with one of these windy battlefield 
guides and lecturers who has memorized a lot of bunk 
from books written by persons who were never in that 
or any other battle, and who is not familiar with the 

It seems then that this matter comes down to the "Art 
of Fighting" rather than to the "Art and Science of 
War;" less theory and more practice as well as power 
of action. 

Then let all of our future instruction be devoted to 
teaching our young officers the "Art and Science of Fight- 
ing" instead of so much theoretical book bunk that does 
not nor ever will fit into the conditions of a real battle 
when people are getting killed and wounded every minute, 
and battle conditions sometimes approach an almost cha- 
otic state. 

What we need today and will need in our army at all 
times in the future, is leadership, and then more leader- 
ship — or fighting leaders — and fewer bookworm, theoret- 
ical soldiers and service school students. The latter 
are almost always the first to fall down in a real battle- 
mixup and take rank, not as battle soldiers, but as battle 

The Marines at Gettysburg 

The nearest approach in time of peace, to anything 
like a genuine test out of campaign and battle conditions 
which the writer has ever seen since the Civil War, and 
that seemed to have any true value in fitting men for 
fighters in the game of war, was the practice march of 
the Expeditionary Force of marines under command of 
Brig.-General Smedley D. Butler, U. S. M. C, from their 
camp at Quantico, Va., to Gettysburg, Pa., and return, 

The Art and Science of War 87 

June-July, 1922, and the enactment of the historical page- 
ant of "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg, July 3, and 
the more modern methods of battle, July 4, 1922, at which 
the writer was present as an observer, through the cour- 
tesy of General Butler — also of Gen. Geo. Richards, P. M. 
General, U. S. M. C. While the camp at Gettysburg, with 
its electric lights, bath tubs, beds, rugs, running water, 
etc., was luxurious in the extreme, almost marvellous — 
especially the "White House" erected for the President — 
from the standpoint of a Civil War veteran of 60 years 
ago who was in that battle but who had no tent and little 
to eat, but who saw that charge from start to finish from 
the high slopes of Little Round Top, and the simulated 
battle was more or less spectacular — more like a moving 
picture — as it had to be unless real fighting was taking 
place, and while the tactical formations also remained un- 
broken in the advance of the battle line across the field 
from Seminary Ridge to the "Angle," while nobody was 
being killed or wounded, yet it was, nevertheless, well 
staged, and realistic to a point where it only needed a 
few accessories such as live shot, shell, canister, and 
bullets ploughing into masses of men, and the inextri- 
cable confusion and mixup always produced thereby, to 
make it an approximately true picture of the real clash 
of battle at that point only lacking those wild and horrify- 
ing features of such a contact that no writer can describe, 
no artist portray and no peace maneuver can accurately 
stage. They were a fine body of men and went at their 
work in the rain, drizzle and mud with the zeal, energy 
and enthusiasm of men who had been well trained — but 
not too finely trained — by battle-taught instructors, who 
knew how to impart their knowledge and apply it in 
such practical and valuable battle maneuvers as these, 
in every sense of the word, proved to be. The writer 
saw these so-called "Devil-dogs" before, during and after 
this mimic battle — when they had got the dust of the 
road and the mud of the fields cleaned off — and they 

88 The Art and Science of War 

surely came fully up to his idea of as fine a bunch of 
husky "Leathernecks" with no paper collars or varnish 
on them as he had seen in many a day. There was no 
umpiring, no far-fetched decisions based on theoretical 
bunk or casualty tables; simply a first class and most 
realistic battle maneuver "pulled off" in a most practical 
fashion — and Gettysburg proved to be an inspiration. 


The Spirit of the Men of Arms 
(Paraphrased from the Japanese) 

The supreme duty of the soldier is loyalty to country. Most of 
those born in this country are not wanting in a sort of patriotism, 
but for the soldier, patriotism of the highest quality is so essential 
that without it he is of little worth. Many men are stirred to tem- 
porary emotion at the sight of the Flag or at the sound of martial 
music, and then as quickly forget; but with the soldier love for 
his country and devotion to his flag must be ever present and 
rooted in his inmost being, nerving him and sustaining him, not 
only in the dangers and hardships of war, but in the discipline and 
training of peace. He should not, therefore intangle himself over- 
much in matters political and social, remembering that he belongs 
not to a party or class, but to his country as a whole regarding his 
supreme duty of loyalty. This duty should have for him the 
weight of a mountain, while death itself should be lightly con- 
sidered in comparison. 


The soldier must have due regard for the rights of his superiors 
and subordinates, and his duties toward them. In an army there 
are various grades of rank, all of which are necessary for efficient 
and harmonious action. The junior must obey and respect the 
senior and the subordinate his superior, with ready willingness. 
Superiors must never be haughty or capricious toward those lower 
in rank; and severity must be reserved for wilful disobedience or 
carelessness. Dignity is best sustained by simplicity and kindness 
without undue familiarity. If juniors treat their seniors with dis- 

The Art and Science of War 89 

respect, or seniors treat their subordinates with harshness and 
injustice, it is impossible for the army to unite harmoniously as 
one man in the service of the country. All soldiers of whatever 
degree must remember that they are associated in a great and hon- 
orable service and that they serve worthily in the station in which 
each is placed is an honor in which the private participates as 
fully as his general. 


It is necessary that the soldier have both courage and fidelity. 
Although it is natural for men to shrink from toil and hardship; 
to fear wounds and death, the soldier must have courage and en- 
durance, and that far more than other men. He must, therefore, 
cultivate these qualifications, making every effort to render his 
body hardy and vigorous, and preparing his mind in advance for 
any demand or sacrifice his country may require of him. He should 
study and emulate the valor of the men who in time past have 
fought under his flag, and be ever mindful of his supreme duty to 
his country, in comparison to which the death of one man, or even 
many men, is a very little thing. The soldier's courage should be 
exercised with judgment and reason. He must never despise his 
enemy although they be but few in number; nor to fear even a 
large number, knowing that strong-hearted determination is al- 
ways superior to mere numbers. He must not expect to obtain 
honor in ease and safety. His calling is honorable because it is 
hard and dangerous and calls for stronger bodies and minds than 
are commonly found among men. 


The soldier should observe the highest degree of truth and up- 
rightness as well as strict fidelity to all his engagements. His word 
must be truth and his promise sacred. This must be so not only 
because of consideration of honor, but because the sure and suc- 
cessful conduct of military operations depends upon the mutual 
confidence that otherwise cannot prevail. To tell exact truth is 
not always easy even with good intentions. The soldier, there- 
fore, upon whose word or report much often depends, must use 
great care to state no more and no less than the entire truth. Be- 
fore making an important promise or engagement he should con- 
sider with care whether the thing can be done or whether it 
ought to be done. But when he has once passed his word, whether 
with friend or enemy, he should be faithful to it if by any means 
within his power. By such conduct he will inspire the confidence 
of his superiors, the respect of his subordinates and the fear of his 

90 The Art and Science of War 


It is the duty of the good soldier to be simple and temperate in 
his life and habits. This is the only way by which he can maintain 
strength of body and vigor of mind. Soldiers who allow them- 
selves to become accustomed to luxury are led to extravagance 
and to too great a desire for wealth. They thus become weak, 
false-hearted and ignoble, and forget and abandon the virtues of 
loyalty, fidelity and courage and become unfit for their calling. 

These five articles are the spirit of the Men of Arms; and the 
true heart is the spirit of the five articles. 

If the heart is not true, good words and good talk are but use- 
less ornaments. 

If the heart be true you may accomplish anything. 

If you serve your country in accordance with this advice, you 
will profit it much and earn honor and respect to yourself. 


Many of these camp trainers were young graduates 
of West Point and officers of the National Guard, perhaps 
later some officers from the Plattsburg Camp ; many were 
without practical experience except in drill and maneuver 
camps. They were of the right stuff, fine drill masters 
and good disciplinarians and did fine work, but a great 
many were poor instructors because they begun their 
teaching at the wrong end, and because they were entirely 
lacking in any practical knowledge of war which could 
be imparted to men who were supposed to be preparing 
— and with no time to lose — for immediate and effective 
battle service, with a war already in progress and a hurry 
call, which seemed imperative, for American troops 
which, upon landing in France, were to go at once upon 
the battle line and become scrappers and fighters along- 
side the Allies in a desperate struggle, not only to save 
the civilization of the world, but to protect and make 
secure our own institutions. The writer has referred to 
the manner of training ; that it should be by competent — 
and by competent is meant experienced — officers. He 

The Art and Science of War 91 

further means battle-taught instructors, or as nearly ap- 
proaching thereto as possible, of whom we unfortunately 
had too few in our training camps. The Civil War- 
trained fighters were not utilized on account of their 
age — and because, perhaps, they did not fit into the Ger- 
man method of fighting from furnished underground 
apartments and dugouts, although their suggestions and 
advice might well have been accepted and proved of 
some practical value. 

The camp trainers could not readily get away from the 
setting-up-plebe-squad drill and militia barrack bunk, 
and all of the absolute and soldierly perfection in tac- 
tical drill which every one in our army knows has been, 
is, and always will be the pride of every graduate of 
the Military Academy, but which should have been, and 
at the start, subordinated to training more essential when 
facing up to a grave war crisis, and better suited to its 
needs. It was not quick preparation for war so long as 
preparedness with us had been such a long and sadly 
neglected duty. Neither was all of such training really 
adapted to battle conditions — as was found after most 
of our troops reached France. Most of the British offi- 
cers who visited those camps referred to it, in their im- 
patience, as "just 'slogging' along." 

After all of these criticisms, which many will declare 
are not constructive but merely broad statements, 
"knocks," "kicks," complaints and hints, without sug- 
gesting any remedy ; and coming as they do from a Civil 
War graduate of the Military Academy (there are but 
few of us left), one might ask for some explanation; 
perhaps some concrete example as to how, under the cir- 
cumstances, these conditions could have been remedied, 
or what other methods or changes in the system — as des- 
ignated by the General Staff — could be made in event of 
any future rapid training of men for immediate war, 
and when the time might be limited to a few weeks or 

92 The Art and Science of War 

In reply to such a request the writer would freely state 
but in very general terms (for there are too many prob- 
lems involved and these pages would hardly contain them 
all) that he would begin this training just where these 
zealous and most efficient drill masters or instructors 
left off. A man's weapons are the first consideration in 
battle, and when properly backed up by sand (courage), 
morale and discipline and directed by intelligence, then 
you have the soldier. Beginning with their weapons, 
which, it is repeated, are of the first importance, much 
more so than salutes, manual of arms and unimportant 
tactical drills; after giving these green, inexperienced 
men just enough "School of the soldier," and "School of 
the Company" so that they could march to and from 
their formations — company, squad, etc., and to the target 
range — and just enough of the manual of arms so that 
they could hold their pieces properly at an order, carry 
— right and left shoulder and present — all this for pre- 
liminary discipline and to perform the necessary camp 
guard duty, etc., but without wasting any time on the 
niceties or attempting anything like West Point perfec- 
tion, then the writer would march them daily to and 
from the target range (giving them the necessary talks 
and lectures on guard and picket duty, the regulations, 
articles of war, etc., ad interims — during evenings, if 
pressed for time, or on stormy days when they could not 
go on the range), and carefully teach the perfect use of 
their weapons — giving them the very best instruction 
under the most skillful experts, putting in all of the 
training, drilling, discipline and perfection right at this 
end of the period, and to the maximum limit, so that their 
knowledge would fit them as rapidly as possible for 
marksmen, sharpshooters, snipers and all-around, self- 
reliant skirmishers or raiders. All this would inspire 
them with a confidence that could be acquired in no other 
way — certainly not by incessant tactical drill. It would 
be of the greatest value to them — even should they receive 

The Art and Science of War 93 

no other training — should occasion arise — as it might and 
almost always does — after the formations should be 
broken up, and when they might be separated from 
their company and squad leaders. This would be the 
time when such training counts and tactical drill does 
not, and when their initiative, born of full confidence in 
themselves, would be given full play. 

Their marches to and from the range would harden 
their muscles and keep them in fit condition, but if the dis- 
tance was not far enough that could be increased by a 
detour daily, but gradually, so as not to weary them. 
During these daily marches they could be exercised in 
the deployments forward, to the right, left and center — 
all of which could be taught in a few lessons without 
any waste of time and be a part of the program for 
general instruction, co-ordinated with the range training, 
without making it special, tedious or tiresome. A few 
minutes' exercise in "setting up" before going to the 
range — en masse, a la Koehler — instruction in pitching 
dog (or "pup") tents, packing, adjusting and carrying 
their packs (which should be light — below the theoreti- 
cal load — unless it is to go on motor trucks, for men can- 
not expect in war the comforts of a home), telling them 
just what to take, what to leave behind, or what to dump 
should some unforeseen emergency compel them to make 
several forced marches, and to go into battle to save the 
day; how to take care of their feet; cleanliness, etc. — 
this in the form of individual instruction by the best non- 
commissioned officers under the closest supervision of 
competent company officers— making the inspections very 
frequent and most rigid, even up to the time of going 
into action, to see that the arms, ammunition and every 
part of the equipment is fit for instant battle. In other 
words, instruction to take the place of tactical drills. All 
this has already been outlined in this paper. There could 
be many more details suggested that are not, and could 
not, be mentioned here, or, except by a carefully arranged 

94 The Art and Science of War 

plan or schedule worked out by the General Staff along 
this general scheme ; most of these, however, would sug- 
gest themselves to any zealous officer competent to look 
after his men and to their perfect battle condition and 
fighting efficiency. All this should be done by frequent 
talks, lectures and individual instruction, these taking 
the place of, or cutting out, so much incessant drill in 
the attempt to make a tactical machine out of them. It 
would be practically impossible to give any cut and dried 
formulas or daily schedules for working out such a sys- 
tem of instruction. 

Such a scheme could only be given in general terms 
and then gradually developed according to the time to 
be given, which, of course, would be more or less, if not 
absolutely, governed by the particular crisis demanding 
such a quick emergency training. 

The entire matter, it should be noted, is a practical 
suggestion and its application to a shorter method for 
fitting men in the "Art of Fighting" after war has 
already been declared ; little or no preparedness in sight, 
and when time is so short that any other training is a 
mere waste of time and energy in an attempt to perfect 
men in things that will generally prove to be non-essen- 
tial in real battle service. 

How long would this take, it might be asked, to fit men 
in a training camp to become good fighters? Provided 
there were not too many camp non-essentials ; too many 
ceremonies — such as reviews, parades or receptions for 
the President, Members of Congress, the Secretary of War 
and other high officials, etc. — or "you tickle me and I'll 
tickle you" stuff, so that a lot of tactical drill might then 
become necessary to hammer into the men to fit them or 
make them "smart" for this absolute waste of time dur- 
ing a critical war period — and dependent somewhat upon 
the season and condition of the weather — the writer 
would say from two to three months, i. e., provided they 
had battle-trained instructors during the entire period 

The Art and Science of War 95 

who would work hard. If a sudden emergency call should 
come it could be cut down to a very much shorter period. 
The writer, who had never been in ranks or handled 
a rifle before August 5, 1862, was trained in an old vet- 
eran regiment on the march from Bull Run to Antietam 
— strictly from September 3 (time of joining the regi- 
ment on the march) to September 16 — and later, at in- 
frequent intervals in camp near Sharpsburg, Md., up to 
October 31 — between two men who had been in the "Seven 
Days' Battles" on the peninsula from Hanover Court 
House and Gaines Mills to Malvern Hill. He went loaded 
very light by advice of his new comrades, to avoid ex- 
haustion on a forced march in hot weather (98° on Sep- 
tember 12), thereby enduring many unlooked for hard- 
ships. He was handled or trained by Sergeant William 
("Billy") Salter, a fine drill sergeant, who had also been 
in the National Guard and "Three Months' Service." No 
time was wasted in "frills," "lugs," "shams" or "furbe- 
lows." We were expected to meet the enemy almost any 
hour. He was carefully taught the use of his rifle first, 
after being shown how to "fall in;" the facings; then 
guard and picket duty, methods of challenging, etc. There 
was no time spent in right and left hand salute, manual 
of arms or useless tactical drills. He got that, and in the 
simplest manner possible, on the march. The writer, 
upon going into battle, soon found that the peninsula 
veterans had "nothing on him," and the word "drill" 
was never again mentioned to him from that time until 
his discharge in October, 1864. We were none of us 
sharpshooters. We didn't have to be as the enemy was 
generally near enough for point blank firing, and we had a 
company of sharpshooters attached to the regiment. 
There were very few drills ever had in the regiment after 
its first period of training, as it had been commanded by 
a regular officer, Captain Jesse A. Gove, Tenth U. S. 
Infantry (later colonel, 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer 
Infantry), from October, 1861, to June 27, 1862, when 

96 The Art and Science of War 

he was killed ; and it was a finely drilled and disciplined 
body of men. The writer soon picked up all of the tactics 
that were necessary for him to get into battle, or to get 
out, and had accumulated all the confidence that any 
youngster is bound to possess who has been properly 
trained by competent battle-taught officers — and mingling 
closely with men who had been on numerous campaigns 
and seven battles where the enemy could be seen close up 
— and not concealed by dug-outs and gopher holes or sub- 
terranean shelters — no matter if the time had been so 
very short. 

Of course he didn't make such a very noticeable splurge 
in the manual of arms or in tactical drill when he entered 
West Point in 1865, but in a few weeks and under a 
very smart but most disgusting yearling corporal, he man- 
aged to get most of the old Army of the Potomac mud 
and rust off of him; accumulate quite a little "pep" and 
"punch;" attend all of the drills and parades, perform 
camp guard duty, etc., without many blunders or step- 
ping on anybody's heels in ranks, and the following year 
was himself a proud cadet corporal and a cadet officer 
the years following — all of which did him no harm after 
he joined the Fourth Cavalry and hunted the wily Co- 
manches, Kiowas and Cheyennes on the plains of Texas. 

It had made him a little straighter, a little smarter in 
appearance and had given him a little more knowledge 
of mere perfection in tactical drill. It afforded him a 
very valuable education and opened up the possibilities 
of an honorable and much-desired career. (Unfortunately 
cut short by a terrible injury received in action with 
Indians). It added nothing, however, to his knowledge 
of the "Art of Fighting" which he had gained years be- 
fore on the bloody battlefields of the Army of the Poto- 
mac, or made of him a better soldier. Nor had it aided 
him in any way in securing the Congressional Medal of 
Honor — two brevets — one for "Specially Gallant Con- 
duct," and a letter of congratulation and special commen- 

The Art and Science of War 97 

dation for "Zeal, Energy and Ability" displayed in the 
capture of ten (10) deserters under circumstances of 
exceptional hardship and peril — the record capture in the 
Military Department of Texas — and the "Grateful 
Thanks" of the State of Texas for "prompt action" and 
"gallant conduct" in "ridding our border of those 
scourges" (the Indians), in addition to a letter, upon 
leaving the Fourth Cavalry from General Ranald S. 
Mackenzie, then its colonel, with the following brief trib- 
ute: "You do not know, my dear C — , how sorry I am to 
lose you from my regiment. Sincerely, your friend." 

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